photo of couple walking on paved pathway
photo of couple walking on paved pathway

Is marital rape even a thing?  Legally, yes, it is.  When there’s sexual activity in marriage without consent, legally it is considered to be rape.  Tasmania’s laws are clear:  “Rape is committed where any person has sexual intercourse with another person without that person’s consent” (s185Criminal Code).  Of course, the other terms also need clear definition.  Thus “sexual intercourse” is defined as “the penetration to the least degree of the vagina, genitalia, anus or mouth of a person by a body part or penis of another person or an object, and includes the continuation of sexual intercourse after such penetration.”  And “consent” is a “consent freely given by a rational and sober person. A consent is not freely given where it is obtained by force, fraud or threats of any kind or where it is obtained by reason of a person being overborne by the nature or position of another person. Nor is it a valid consent if a person is so affected by liquor or drugs, as to be incapable of forming a rational opinion about the matter to which they consent.”  Most other jurisdictions will have similar legislation.   

But illegal does not necessarily equal unbiblical or sinful.  There can be laws prohibiting things which go beyond what God says in his Word. Is this an example of that? Some would say, “Yes.” In my marriage preparation classes, I show this video of a fundamentalist Baptist pastor somewhere in the United States. 

Anderson thinks that consent is given in the marriage ceremony.  When you say “I do,” you’ve given your consent once and for all.  Sadly, he’s just saying what a lot of Christians are thinking, including some in Reformed churches. 

Originally, I was going to write my own refutation of this idea that marital rape is impossible.  However, Darby Strickland has written something far better than I could ever write.  So I’m just going to send you to her articles.  Please note that the links in the articles to the other parts in the series don’t work.  So just use these links:

Sexual Abuse in Marriage – Part 1

Sexual Abuse in Marriage: The Power of Confusion – Part 2

Sexual Abuse in Marriage:  12 Ways to Help Victims – Part 3