"Rape doesn’t happen in marriage.” That is what Serena Acker told herself when her husband of a year began frequently demanding sex and forcing himself on her. But she realized, in fact, it does.
“I assumed it would get better, but it never did. It just kept getting worse. There was such a disconnect thinking this can’t be happening. But it does happen, which is why I’m willing to tell my story — to help break the silence.”
About 28% of sexual assaults are committed by the victim’s current or past intimate partner, a category that includes spouses, according to the Justice Department.
“If someone is experiencing intimate partner sexual violence, my message to them would be this: You are not alone. There are thousands of people who have been in your shoes, sadly. You don’t deserve this. There is healing and there is hope. And I’m a living, breathing example of both,” said Acker.
After years of counseling, Acker is working through her wounds, no longer lets fear hold her back and is now married to a wonderful man. She credits RAINN’s Speakers Bureau as being a great resource in helping her share her story. She has also discovered a passion for helping women who have been forced into prostitution and is actively seeking to find or start a ministry to support them.
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, help is just a call or click away via RAINN's National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org.