The Physical and Psychological Effects of Spousal Rape

Perhaps the relaxed social perceptions and laws surrounding spousal rape are fueled by the belief that it is uncommon. Unfortunately, the data says otherwise. Research shows that approximately 10-14 percent of married women in the United States have been raped by their husbands. The consequences of such rapes are no less dire just because the perpetrator is a spouse. Indeed, women who are raped by their husbands suffer severe and long-lasting physical and mental health problems.

The Bizarre Legal Loopholes Surrounding Spousal Rape

Many states still have archaic laws that allow for spousal rape.

The physical effects of spousal rape often include injuries to vaginal and anal areas. Vaginal and anal tearing, pelvic pain, urinary tract infections, miscarriages, bladder infections, infertility, and the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases are often reported among spousal rape survivors (Campbell & Soeken, 1999).

Other bodily injuries are also common. For example, Campbell and Alford (1989) reported that 50 percent of the spousal rape survivors in their study were kicked, hit, burned, or stabbed while being raped. Many survivors go on to report lacerations, soreness, bruising, torn muscles, and broken bones (Adams, 1993).

Also important is the relationship between spousal rape and unwanted pregnancies. Approximately 17 percent of spousal rape survivors in one study reported experiencing an unwanted pregnancy; and 20 percent of those women went on to experience miscarriages or stillbirths (Campbell & Alford, 1989).

The psychological effects of spousal rape are also severe. Indeed, given that spousal rape survivors are likely to experience multiple assaults, and because they are raped by someone whom they once presumably loved and trusted, it should come as no surprise that these survivors suffer extreme and long-term psychological consequences (e.g., Kilpatrick et al., 1988). Common effects of spousal rape include anxiety, shock, depressionsuicidal ideation, disordered sleeping, and PTSD (Stermac et al., 2001). Women raped by their intimate partners are actually more likely to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety than those who are raped by non-partners (Plichta & Falik, 2001). Research has also shown that spousal rape survivors experience more long-lasting psychological effects, with some survivors reporting flashbacks, sexual dysfunction, and emotional pain for several years after the violence (Bennice & Resick, 2003).

Tying it All Together

As COVID-19 confines victimized spouses to the home, it is likely that instances of spousal rape will experience a rise commensurate with increases in overall domestic violence. This should give us pause and provoke a critical examination of the existing legal loopholes surrounding spousal rape. In a perfect world, marriage would embody only the harmony and bliss that we all grew up envisioning for ourselves. But the harsh reality is that some marriages are riddled with emotional abuse and physical violence. In fact, many experts now refer to violent and controlling behaviors in marital relationships as “intimate terrorism.” Perhaps this terminology offers a more apt descriptor for the terror that some spouses experience on an everyday basis. If we widely recognize and condemn the terror of domestic violence, shouldn’t we also denounce the terror implicit in non-consensual sex?

Reference link :

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/making-sense-chaos/202005/the-bizarre-legal-loopholes-surrounding-spousal-rape

Join Nikki in her vision of justice for Women, we deserve to live a life free of oppression

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Healing & Empowering Yourself after Physical & Emotional Trauma

It can be difficult to heal and empower yourself again after and any kind of physical and emotional trauma, including domestic violence or a messy divorce.

The process is different for everyone, and there is no manual that can expertly prepare you and guide you through it, since feelings are complex and wounds and scars take time to heal.

But you don’t have to feel tied to your history with domestic violence and sexual abuse. You can escape your feelings of low self-esteem and low self-worth that keep you trapped in the cycle. You learn to think of yourself as less than, because that’s how your abuser or abusers treat you; and they may have isolated you from those who might support you.

So think of what happened as then, and this is now. You may have physically escaped or you are seeking to do so. Now you have to know you can do it, and you can stop the self-blame and feelings of “I’m not good enough.” Instead, you can rise to the challenge and break away from your fears that you aren’t up to the task or that you can’t change. Instead, by learning to heal and working towards your recovery, you can channel your trauma into powerful transformation. That’s what I did for myself, and now my mission in life is to help others experiencing such traumas break free and empower themselves.

In fact, you can gain strength by knowing you are part of a community of women who are survivors and are using their past to build themselves into better women. They are collectively overcoming their fears, and they are using their voices to raise awareness and potentially save the lives of women and children who are trapped in relationships and families that have become the source of their abuse.

I know this change is possible, because I almost lost my home, accumulated over $200,000 in credit card debt, became dependent on alcohol, and even made an attempt on my own life.

But I made it through. I retook my career working in real estate and insurance, and what helped me make it is finding a renewed faith and a supportive community. It was a long journey of several years, but I gained so much knowledge of what we need to do to grow and empower ourselves along the way. I also realized what we need to do to get help and resources along the way.

As a result, I decided to share my story through my book, blogs, videos, and this website, and use any funds to build my Ministry for Women. I have created this ministry because I feel empowered and want to show the love, mercy, and grace I have gained by giving back to other women and communities. A key inspiration for this ministry is a group of elder woman parishioners at my church who showed me the power of selfless love by becoming my spiritual mothers and adopting me as a daughter. As a result, I developed a love towards the ministry, my pastor, and their families, and most importantly, I developed a personal relationship with my Creator, so I gained this new sense of purpose and mission in my life to help other women.

So I invite you to join with me and the community of women who are united to achieve this goal of breaking free of the past and empowering oneself in the present for a brighter and more fulfilling future. I will let you know about my book when it comes out. Now I invite you to help spread love and justice for women who have been abused. Sign the email link below and follow our community at #NikkiHealed

Now let me tell you my story, so you know that if I can do it, so can you.

In 2015, I survived my first suicide attempt. I did so because my body was riddled with pain, shame, anger, and rage, from all of the traumas I had experienced in my life. After my attempt, I spent two weeks as an inpatient at a psychiatric hospital, with dozens of other women who had sadly fallen down the same path. Surrounded by slit wrists and overdoses, I was distressed to see the number of survivors with me in that ward. This two weeks I spent there also gave me a chance to think about my life to better understand why I was there.

At this point, before I subsequently found a new faith in God and Christianity, I had hit rock bottom. When the real estate market crash hit in 2008, I lost everything. I owed over $200,000 in credit card debt, suffered a tornado that destroyed our uninsured home, and had to file for bankruptcy, because I had lost all my assets. On top of this, I was battling an addiction to alcohol, opioids, and painkillers.

I lost my home because an EF-4 tornado ripped through our house and my hometown, killing 43 people. It threw cars off the overpass into the traffic below and destroyed the freeway. Hundreds were left without shelter, because their homes were damaged beyond repair, and none of us could return home until the authorities gave us the green light. In fact, I almost lost my life in this natural disaster.

After all of these losses, for years I harbored bitterness, rage, and anger, not only towards these events, but towards all of the perpetrators who had caused me so much pain from sexual and domestic abuse, including perpetrators who abused me sexually when I was a child, my husband who subjected me regularly to domestic violence, and my mother who rejected me from birth, deeply wounding my soul. So substance abuse was my way of dealing with the emotional pain I carried with me everywhere.

But finally I found a way to cope with all the hurt, heartache, and exhaustion through surrendering my pain to a higher power after my faith was restored in God through the church I attended. This happened in 2015, which was a year of transformation and a full rebirth of my life. I felt blessed to find a caring community of like-minded women who built me up through empowerment, education, and dedication to a cause greater than myself. They taught me how to heal and use my past to forge a new future.

This transformation occurred because during my recovery, I was in close contact with multiple ministries that donated food, clothes, blankets, housing expenses, shelter expenses, and even payment for my damaged roof repair. I had never seen nor witnessed selflessness like this before. The members of these ministries demonstrated an unwavering commitment to me and my recovery through the purest form of love.

After I recovered physically, I and my husband, a devout Catholic, learned to value the importance of showing love and caring for others. As a result, that same year, we found our church and converted to the Christian Faith after we visited several churches and found the one which took us under its wing. We began attending regularly each Sunday, and I met a group of long-time women parishioners who became my spiritual mothers and helped me feel uplifted in prayer each Sunday.

I desperately needed to embrace this faith, so I could have something to cling to after my husband and I lost everything over the previous decade. But after a few years, when our faith was tested by some struggles to find our way economically, personally, and spiritually, ultimately our faith sustained us, so I felt we were blessed with grace and mercy.

So now, besides finding empowerment in my revised business career, I want to share all of the understandings and blessings I have gained to help other women similarly become empowered and overcome past experiences of abuse and lowered self-worth to feel fully free and equal in whatever they want to do. For this is the path to true fulfillment in life.

Accordingly, I invite you to the #Nikkihealed fight for equality and empowerment no matter your ethnic background. The goal is to fight for this empowerment and against any barriers that stand in the way. So we’ll be helping women with everything from employment rights to entrepreneurship, and we’ll be looking at the ways that women are undermined and exploited, such as through femicide and female slavery, which has become an often overlooked but world-wide problem. Together we can do it, because together we are stronger than one. Together, we can become champions, as warriors, businesswomen, educators, and whatever we want to do.

Thus, I invite you to join with us at #Nikkihealed to become the person you truly want to be and were made to believe you never were.

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