Lisa Bloch Rodwin is an attorney who prosecuted a landmark case in western New York where a husband was sentenced to 50 years in prison for raping his wife—the first marital rape case to be tried there in 25 years.
Marital rape remains an underreported crime for a variety of reasons, Lisa says. For instance, many women are embarrassed to tell anyone. Or they think it's in their marital vows to accept forced sex. They may also think they have brought the rape upon themselves for some reason.
Some may not even believe they were actually raped. What constitutes marital rape? "Forcing you physically, not just emotionally. Pinning you down. Hurting you. Threatening you with other violence in the future even if they're not hitting you at that moment," Lisa says. "That's rape."
"It doesn't matter if you're wearing a wedding ring. It doesn't matter if he's the father of your children. It doesn't matter if you've been living together for 20 years," she says. "If somebody is threatening you or forcing you or you are fearful that you have to do this, it's rape. It's as if somebody pulls you under a bush in the dark with a knife at your throat."