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Power, Sex, and Violence: The Case of Marital Rape

Richard J. Gelles
The Family Coordinator
Vol. 26, No. 4, The Family and the Law (Oct., 1977), pp. 339-347
DOI: 10.2307/581754
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/581754
Page Count: 9
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Power, Sex, and Violence: The Case of Marital Rape
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Abstract

The available evidence on marital violence indicates that a number of women are forced into having sexual relations with their husbands through intimidation or physical force. Faulk's research (1977) identified cases where sexual intercourse was forced on a wife after her husband beat her. Other data point to the fact that, although marital rape is not possible in a strict legal sense, some women are talking about and reporting incidents of marital rape. This paper examines the issue of marital rape by discussing some of the controversies involved in examining a phenomenon which, until recently was not viewed as problematic. The paper presents evidence from research on rape, research on family violence, and a survey of rape crisis centers which provides some insight into the incidence and nature of marital rape. The paper concludes by presenting some important issues for further consideration and examination.

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