Washington state may finally drop marital rape exception

"There is no such thing as legitimate rape," said state Rep. Roger Goodman

Topics: Rape, Sexual assault, marital rape, Marriage, Crime, ,

Washington state may finally drop marital rape exception (Credit: AP/Schalk van Zuydam)

Washington lawmakers have introduced legislation to remove the spousal exemption from rape in the third degree, in which no physical force is used but consent is not given. Washington removed the marital exemption for first- and second-degree rape in 1983, but the current law forced prosecutors to pursue lesser, misdemeanor assault charges against spouses in cases that would have otherwise been prosecuted as third-degree rape.

As the Associated Press reports, Washington state remains one of a handful of states where marriage is an absolute defense against allegations of third-degree rape.

In defending the bill, state Rep. Roger Goodman D-Kirkland, borrowed a phrase from Todd Akin — and turned it on its head. “There is no such thing as legitimate rape,” he said. “We have to get rid of this marital rape exception and catch up with the rest of the country.”

The first marital rape conviction did not occur in the United States until the late 1970s, reflecting long-held beliefs that only rape committed by a stranger constituted “legitimate rape” and that forced sex within marriage was a wife’s duty. But with growing awareness and an evolving legal code, successful prosecution of marital and acquaintance rape is becoming more common.

You Might Also Like

“Prosecutors have historically been more comfortable pursuing stranger rape, but that is changing by leaps and bounds,” Laura X, director of the National Clearinghouse on Marital and Date Rape, told the New York Times in a piece on changing rape laws. “Very serious criminal charges are now routinely filed in cases involving acquaintance rape. The whole atmosphere has changed, as more people come to understand that ‘no’ means ‘no.’”

The bill is expected to pass in the Legislature, and Rep. Goodman is optimistic that Gov. Jay Inslee will sign it into law.

“I will do everything I can to make sure that we get rid of the marital rape exception in Washington,” Goodman said.

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 8
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Sonic

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Sonic's Bacon Double Cheddar Croissant Dog

    Sonic calls this a "gourmet twist" on a classic. I am not so, so fancy, but I know that sprinkling bacon and cheddar cheese onto a tube of pork is not gourmet, even if you have made a bun out of something that is theoretically French.

    Krispy Kreme

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Krispy Kreme's Doughnut Dog

    This stupid thing is a hotdog in a glazed doughnut bun, topped with bacon and raspberry jelly. It is only available at Delaware's Frawley Stadium, thank god.

    KFC

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    KFC's Double Down Dog

    This creation is notable for its fried chicken bun and ability to hastily kill your dreams.

    Pizza Hut

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Pizza Hut's Hot Dog Bites Pizza

    Pizza Hut basically just glued pigs-in-blankets to the crust of its normal pizza. This actually sounds good, and I blame America for brainwashing me into feeling that.

    Carl's Jr.

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Carl's Jr. Most American Thick Burger

    This is a burger stuffed with potato chips and hot dogs. Choose a meat, America! How hard is it to just choose a meat?!

    Tokyo Dog

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Tokyo Dog's Juuni Ban

    A food truck in Seattle called Tokyo Dog created this thing, which is notable for its distinction as the Guinness Book of World Records' most expensive hot dog at $169. It is a smoked cheese bratwurst, covered in butter Teriyaki grilled onions, Maitake mushrooms, Wagyu beef, foie gras, black truffles, caviar and Japanese mayo in a brioche bun. Just calm down, Tokyo Dog. Calm down.

    Interscope

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Limp Bizkit's "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water"

    This album art should be illegal.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>