Many women try to fulfill an impossible array of ideals simultaneously. You may expect yourself to be a perfect daughter, daughter-in-law, wife, mother, friend, sister and professional career woman.
Some South Asian communities emphasize a woman’s duty to sacrifice her time and energy to care for others, or to defer to others in making important decisions. In turn, South Asian women may feel helpless because of their relative lack of power and control over their lives compared with men. At times, this power imbalance can lead to relationship abuse and marital rape.
South Asian communities may instill in women the idea that their husbands can have sex with them whenever they want after they get married. Women may feel as if marriage denies them the power to have any say in their sex life. This is not true: Marriage does not take away your right to have control over your body. If your spouse uses threats or intimidation to obtain sex, this could be considered marital rape.
People often think of rape as a one-time, violent occurrence, but that’s not always the case. In instances of marital rape, it can be a repeated event that may not be as outwardly violent. Rape — in any shape or form — is highly traumatic and psychologically damaging. Although the legal definition of rape varies from state to state, rape usually implies non-consensual penetration of a victim’s vagina, mouth or anus. Marital rape may not be recognized as a crime in other countries, but it is illegal in the United States.
For more information on relationship abuse, including where to turn for help, use these resources: