In the upcoming 2023 legislative session, an effort will be made to give married persons the same legal protection in a sexual abuse situation that unmarried people already have.
While not a topic that is discussed often, it is shocking that being married gives a spouse less legal protection after being a victim of certain forced sexual contact to which they did not consent.
Our criminal laws distinguish between sexual assault and sexual abuse.
A spouse committing sexual assault against the other spouse can be prosecuted for that, but when a spouse commits sexual abuse against the other, it is not currently against West Virginia law.
So married individuals have legal protection against being sexually abused by a stranger or non-spouse. The opposite is true when the victim’s spouse commits the same abusive acts without consent.
Let your legislators know how inappropriate and unacceptable this situation is. The ability to prosecute the perpetrator of such harmful acts should not be based on the marital status of the victim.