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Why No One Talks about Sexual Violence in Relationships

Why No One Talks about Sexual Violence in Relationships

We often think, when it comes to sex, anything goes if you’re in a relationship. But what happens when one person’s boundaries don’t match the others? Or when one partner pressures the other into doing things they aren’t comfortable with?

Couple sits together holding hands
 
Sexual abuse happens within dating and marriage relationships all the time. It’s harder to notice because people rarely talk about it. We keep quiet about the things that happen in our relationship. And we put up with things we aren't comfortable with because we feel we owe our partner something.

Abusers often use their relationship status as a tool to manipulate their partners. They might say:
 
“If you really love me, you’ll have sex with me.”
 
“After all that I do for you, you owe me this.”
 
But let me say this loud and clear: BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP DOES NOT MEAN SEX IS A GIVEN.
 
Getting consent is a MUST even if you’re dating or married to someone. Each person has the right to say no to anything at any point. Even if you’ve had sex before, it's your call every time.
 
We all have our own convictions and ideas of what we’d like to happen in a relationship. When it comes to sex and other sexual behaviors, both partners need to agree on what is okay.
 
But why are we even talking about this? Is this really a prevalent issue?
 
Unfortunately, it is.
 
14-25% of women are sexually assaulted by intimate partners during their relationship.[1]
 
Whoa.
 
Think of all the women you know who are in relationships. According to statistics, roughly a fourth of them are in sexually abusive relationships.
 
So does it happen?
 
Yes. More than we would like to think.
 
And there are serious consequences.
 
Women in these relationships are more likely to suffer from depression and be attacked or even killed by their partner. [2]
 
It’s a serious issue that affects many of us. So how do we begin to address the problem?
 
First, be aware. Read blogs like this. Talk to your friends about warning signs. Research the issue. Speak out against sexual violence in relationships.
 
Second, build healthy relationships. Talk to your partner about boundaries and then RESPECT each other’s wishes. Ask for consent, all the time. If you truly care about each other, asking something like, “Can I take your shirt off?” or “Do you like this?” won’t kill the moment.
 
Third, seek help. If you’re in a sexually abusive relationship, you are not alone. Unfortunately, many other people have been stuck in similar situations. But there are countless people ready to help you.
 
Talk to a counselor, advocate, or another professional trained to help people like you. We can provide you with resources, help you safety plan, or contact law enforcement for you. Every situation is different. We're not here to judge or tell you what to do. We’re here to hear you out.
 
You deserve to feel free from violence. You deserve to be in a relationship where your voice is heard and respected. Don’t let sexual violence keep you silent. Call us today if you need help: 1-800-770-1650 or text ‘IOWAHELP’ to 20121.
 
 
[1] 7 Statistics About Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse https://ncadv.org/blog/posts/quick-guide-domestic-violence-and-sexual-abuse
 
 
 
[2] 7 Statistics About Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse https://ncadv.org/blog/posts/quick-guide-domestic-violence-and-sexual-abuse