In 1992, an Illinois case eliminated the “marital exemption” to rape laws. So how is it now in 2015 we are still pondering the question of can a husband rape his wife? Does being married change a woman’s right to say no? According to a Grundy County judge, yes, a man can be convicted of and go to jail for raping his wife.
In 2013, a woman was hospitalized after a brutal sexual incident involving her husband. She made the claim that she woke up to her husband sexually assaulting her in an attack that resulted in a four-day hospital stay. Her husband claimed the sexual contact was 100% consensual and any injuries incurred were strictly accidental. The drama of the case played out in the court room with both parties testimony being called into question. The husband, through his attorneys are claiming that while his wife was in fact drunk on the night in question, but that she gave full consent. This defense brings up the question of the definition of rape in Illinois, “Unable to give knowing consent to sex”. If a wife is in a drunken pass out state, does she have the ability to give knowing consent?
In this specific case, the answer is no, due to her drinking and being passed out, the wife was not able to give consent; even to her own husband. Therefore, her husband was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to 8 years in prison for the incident. She has since filed for divorce, while her husband starts the appeals process. Her husband is expected to serve at least 85% of the time he has been sentenced to serve.
Bigger picture, being married doesn’t mean you are happy. Being married doesn’t mean you have to have sex whenever your spouse wants it. Being married doesn’t mean you give up your rights to say no. Being married doesn’t mean that consent is automatic.
This is no different than going to jail for beating your spouse or any other crime that you can commit against them. It’s amazing that we still have to have these conversations just like apparently some people don’t think that a porn star can be raped.
While I’m sure there were other issues in this marriage, the reality is that you could have the best marriage in the world and if you climb on top of your passed out spouse and penetrate her, you are committing rape. And if you end up in jail as a result you’ll have nobody to blame but yourself.