Intimate Partner Sexual Violence

A perpetrator can have any relation to a victim, and that includes an intimate partner. There are many different terms to refer to sexual assault committed by a person in a relationship with the victim, including intimate partner sexual violence, domestic violence, intimate partner rape, marital rape, and spousal rape. No matter what term is used or how the relationship is defined, it is never okay to engage in sexual activity without someone’s consent.

How does sexual assault relate to domestic violence?
Sexual assault in a relationship rarely exists in a vacuum. It often occurs alongside other forms of abusive behavior. The majority of women who were physically assaulted by an intimate partner had been sexually assaulted by that same partner. To learn more about dating and domestic violence, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website.

Why should I reach out?
If you have experienced sexual assault by an intimate partner, it can be challenging to come forward for many reasons. You may be concerned for your safety or the safety of your children, still have strong feelings for your partner, or aren’t convinced that what’s happening to you is really sexual assault. It’s understandable to feel this way.

Survivors of sexual assault by a partner are more likely to experience sexual assault multiple times compared to stranger and acquaintance rape. For this reason, it can cause the victim longer lasting physical and psychological injuries. Ending an abusive relationship is not something that you have to do alone. Reaching out for help from friends, loved ones, local organizations or law enforcement can help you through this process.

Help is available
You can find support from a confidential, non-judgmental source.

  • To speak with someone who is trained to help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at online.rainn.org.
  • Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.SAFE (7233) any time, 24/7, or chat online.
  • Learn more about safety planning to brainstorm ideas for safety or escape.

National Sexual Assault Hotline | 1.800.656.HOPE(4673) | Free. Confidential. 24/7.

© RAINN 2009 | 1220 L Street NW, Suite 505, Washington, DC 20005 | 202-544-1034 | info@rainn.org
1.800.656.HOPE(4673) | CFC#10488 | Privacy Policy | Federal Funding Disclaimer