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California makes distinctions with regard to rape for instances where the action happens outside of marriage and inside of a marriage. New bills have been put forward that would end the benefits that are associated with spousal rape. Proponents of the changes argue that rape as an act is not different simply because it is committed by a spouse. Therefore, it shouldn’t result in softer penalties than when it is committed by a person against another that they aren’t married to. The penalties for rape should be treated just the same no matter who commits the act.

Only 11 states across the nation differentiate rape in general and rape by a spouse. Making a distinction between spousal rape and other sexual assault came about from a bygone belief that when two people are married, the woman must submit to their husband and husbands have the right to sex with their wives when they desire it. There was a time that men who raped their wives suffered no consequences for their actions. In 1979, that ideology changed and the first man was prosecuted for raping his wife. Since then, spousal rape was identified and established, but still, the act was not dealt with in the criminal justice system with the harshness that other sexual assault crimes are.

How Does a Spousal Rape Charge in California Differ from Other Types of Rape?

Even though spousal rape in California still comes with repercussions, husbands can get off much easier and with reduced penalties than when the crime occurs between people who are not married. California rape charges and California spousal rape charges have the same maximum penalties under the law. Spousal rape defendants, though, can avoid time in jail and instead be given probation. Individuals guilty of rape are required to register in the California sex registry, but for a spousal rape charge, this may not be mandated.

Advocates of the proposed bills say that trauma from rape doesn’t change because the person who is perpetrating it happens to be married to their victim. The damage that a victim of rape suffers is the same. Under the two bills, spousal rape would not be different than other forms of rape and it would be punished the same way. 

Of all the rape incidents that are reported in the state of California, approximately 10% are spousal rape events. The number of spousal rape instances may be much higher than that though because as Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen indicates, spousal rape is rarely reported.

Speak to a Los Angeles Rape Defense Attorney Today

If you are charged with rape your entire life will be turned upside down when you have to register as a sex offender, not to mention the years behind bars you may be sentenced to. The Los Angeles sex crimes defense attorneys at the Manshoory Law Group have extensive experience helping individuals facing sex charges in California fight back to protect their freedoms, liberties, and reputation. Contact us at the Manshoory Law Group today at (877) 977-7750 for a completely free case evaluation.