Intimate Partner Sexual Assault
- Linda, Survivor (McOrmond-Plummer, 2008)
Issues that are common to intimate partner sexual assault victims/survivors as opposed to other sexual assault survivors are:
- Longer-lasting trauma: There is a common notion that intimate partner sexual assault is less traumatic to the victim than stranger sexual assault. In fact, research shows the trauma can be longer lasting.
- Higher levels of physical injury.
- Multiple Assaults: Survivors of intimate partner sexual assault suffer the highest frequency of multiple sexual assaults.
- Higher levels of anal and oral rape: Partner perpetrators commonly use these forms of assault to humiliate, punish and take ‘full’ ownership of their partners.
- Advice to “put up with” sexual assault: A marital rape victim is often told that it is her duty to submit to her husband and that she should be grateful the rapist is a good father.
- Financial dependency on the rapist.
- Safety Issues: The intimate partner sexual assault survivor may need help obtaining a place of refuge, assistance obtaining a restraining order and assistance with legal/custody matters.
- Difficulty defining the act/s as sexual assault: Women are socialized to see rape as involving non-consensual sex between two strangers. There may be reluctance for a victim to define a partner whom she loves as a “rapist.” (McOrmond-Plummer, 2008).
If you or someone you know has been the victim of intimate partner sexual assault it might be helpful to speak with an advocate at your local crisis center. You can call either of our free statewide hotline numbers 24 hours a day for support. The call is free and it’s confidential.
Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-277-5570
Intimate Partner Sexual Violence in the Context of Domestic Violence, A Publication from the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs