Intimate Partner Sexual Abuse
Adjudicating This Hidden Dimension of Domestic Violence Cases
National Judicial Education Program
Welcome, Guest
Log in Log out Register Background Resources Course Information Help Contact Us    
‹‹ Return Proceed ››

Module II: Victims and Offenders

Key Points: Victims and Offenders

  • Who are the Victims of Intimate Partner Sexual Abuse?
    • There is no "victim profile"—women of every race, ethnicity, and socio-economic background may be victims of intimate partner sexual abuse.
    • Intimate partner sexual abuse occurs in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships.
    • Children are often direct or indirect victims of intimate partner sexual abuse. The impact on children must not be overlooked.
  • What is the Impact of Intimate Partner Sexual Abuse?
    • Rape by an intimate partner is profoundly damaging because of the betrayal of trust.
    • Because the victim lives with the assailant, intimate partner sexual abuses are more likely to be completed and multiple assaults are common.
    • The perpetual threat to safety that comes from having to live with one's assailant undermines the woman's emotional and physical health.
    • Flashbacks, hypervigilance, difficulty eating and sleeping, nightmares, loss of trust, intense fear and suicidal thoughts are all common reactions among victims of intimate partner sexual abuse.
    • The greater the frequency and severity of intimate partner sexual abuse, the more acute are the symptoms of PTSD that victims experience. These symptoms can continue for years after the violence has ended.
    • Typically there are no visible physical injuries in any type of rape.
    • Where there is repeated intimate partner sexual abuse there may be a variety of long-lasting negative health consequences.
  • Who are the Offenders?
    • There is no "offender profile" — perpetrators may be of any race, ethnicity, occupation or socioeconomic status.
    • Offenders may be highly-respected leaders in the community.
    • Offenders rarely identify their own behavior as sexual assault.
    • Offenders rationalize their abusive behavior with the belief that their wives are their property and sex-on-demand is a wife's duty.
    • The three typologies of marital rape are
      • force-only rape
      • battering rape
      • obsessive or sadistic rape.
    • In "force-only" rape, the victim complies with sexual demands for fear of the violence if she does not. Acquiescence to secure personal safety is not consent.
    • Offenders are particularly likely to commit intimate partner sexual abuse when the victim tries to leave the abusive relationship.

Module II → Key Points: Victims and Offenders
‹‹ Return Proceed ››
Logo: State Justice Institute