3 Things to Know About Partner Rape

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Many of the myths about sexual violence center around the unknown: a stranger might jump out from behind the bushes, or we’ll bring a man home from a bar who will sexually assault us. The truth, however, is that perpetrators of sexual violence are often people we know. According to statistics gathered by the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), 70 percent of rapes are committed by someone known to the survivor. In fact, 25 percent of all rapes are committed by a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend.

In order to shed more light on the issue, we spoke to Kate Harding, author of “Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do About It” to debunk some of the misconceptions about partner rape.

Misconception #1: Partner rape happens randomly or “accidentally.”

The words “abusive relationship” call to mind a partner who slaps or punches. But controlling sexual behavior is also abuse and can include behavior like rape, forced oral sex, or public groping. “It is a form of control. It is a form of abuse,” says Harding.

Sexual violence in a relationship is about “enforcing the message” that you are not in control of your own body, she continues. It’s making a clear statement: I can do what I want, whether you like it or not.

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