“Marta” and her husband were married for 13 years and had three children. Throughout their marriage, her husband emotionally abused her, controlled her activities and regularly demanded sex as his right.
If Marta said she didn’t want to have sex, her husband begged, blamed and screamed until she gave in. If Marta asked for anything for herself or the children, Marta’s husband demanded sex as payment.
Sometimes, Marta locked herself in the bedroom for protection, but this only resulted in her husband yelling and threatening her until she agreed to have sex with him and let him in so that he would stop frightening the kids. One day, after her husband brutally assaulted her, Marta reached out for help.
Marta’s story is not unusual. In fact, 25% of all sexual assaults are committed by a current or former spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend. And nearly one in 10 women has been raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime.
LifeWire honors Sexual Assault Awareness month each year because we recognize that Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence are related and intersecting social problems. Although often addressed separately, Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence are both forms of gender-based violence, and are deeply interrelated in both causation and impact.
In recent years, organizations working to end Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault have made efforts to coordinate, recognizing that our services, our messaging and our impact on communities and survivors are stronger together. LifeWire is an active member of the King County Coalition Ending Gender-based Violence, which includes 40 member agencies who work together to coordinate services and advocate for laws and services to benefit survivors.
If you are a survivor of Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence or both, help is available. Please reach out to LifeWire or any of our partner organizations including:
- Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress
- API Chaya
- Northwest Network