An Ohio bill that would eliminate spousal exceptions for rape is struggling to gain bipartisan support.
Ohio’s rape law was amended in 1986 to include spousal rape but only if there is a “force or threat of force.”
“So cases where a husband drugs and rapes his wife do not qualify,” explained Patricia Falk, professor at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law who specializes in rape law.
Falk explained that Ohio is one of just 13 states in the country that have not completely abolished spousal rape exemptions. Her research has documented many cases of spousal drugging and rape in the state.
“We still have this vestige from a bygone era in our rape law and it really has no place in 2017 Ohio,” Falk said.
In 2015 she was consulted on the first push to eliminate the spousal rape exemption spearheaded by Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron). That bill was only granted one committee hearing by majority lawmakers.
Victim advocates like Linda Johanek, CEO Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center, argue that all forms of rape should be treated equally.
“Spousal rape is a crime no matter what,” Johanek said.
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