Intimate Partner Sexual Violence (IPSV)

Daisy Rogozinsky
February 6, 2023

Intimate partner sexual violence (IPSV) is a type of sexual assault. In this article, we define the term intimate partner sexual violence and review the laws related to it in the United States.

Key Takeaways

  • Intimate partner sexual violence (IPSV) is sexual assault occurring within an intimate relationship 
  • The legal terms used for IPSV are marital rape and spousal sexual battery
  • In the United States, all states now recognize marital rape as a crime
  • Some states have different laws for marital rape than they do for non-marital rape, such as lower maximum sentences or other legal loopholes

What Is Intimate Partner Sexual Violence (IPSV)?

Intimate partner sexual violence (IPSV) is any type of sexual assault occurring within an intimate relationship. This includes any current or former intimate relationships, whether or not the partners are or were married. 

IPSV includes:

  • Physical abuse before, during, or after sex
  • Forced involvement in making or watching pornography
  • Forced participation in group sex
  • Forced sex with another person
  • Forced sex with a partner watching or in front of children
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Degrading sexual taunts
  • Coerced or forced oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse
  • Unwanted sexual touching
  • Withholding affection if sexual demands are not met

Intimate Partner Sexual Violence (IPSV) and Sexual Assault Law

The legal term used to refer to IPSV is marital rape or spousal sexual battery, which is defined as nonconsensual sexual activity with one’s spouse. Since 1993 In the United States, every state recognizes marital rape as a crime. Most have the same laws about marital rape as they do other types of rape. However, some states have different laws for marital rape.

For example, in South Carolina, spousal sexual battery has a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. The same crime committed by a non-spouse has a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Additionally, prosecution for spousal sexual battery may not proceed unless the spouse’s conduct was reported to law enforcement within 30 days of the event. 

There are also several states that have legal loopholes for marital rape. In California, for example, the law states that a spouse cannot commit rape based on lack of consent due to a victim’s disability or mental disorder. In New York, a spouse cannot commit rape if the crime is based on a lack of consent due to disability or age. 

If you have been accused of marital rape, it is recommended that you hire an experienced sexual assault lawyer who has worked on cases similar to yours. They will work to build a defense that will help you be acquitted or receive the minimum possible sentence.

Featured Sexual Assault Lawyers

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