Indiana Marital Rape Laws

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Under Indiana’s laws, engaging in any sexual activity with your spouse by force or without the spouse’s consent is a crime, sometimes referred to as “marital rape.”

Historically, men were immune from prosecution for raping their wives, on the theory that women were property, that married women could not say no to their husbands sexual demands, or that a married couple was legally one person and a husband could not rape himself.

Thanks to the women’s movement, the marital rape exemption has since been eliminated, but only recently.

In 1977, Indiana lawmakers limited the marital rape exemption so that it no longer applied to spouses who were living apart or after one spouse had filed for divorce. In 1998, Indiana completely repealed the marital rape exemption in all circumstances. Sex crimes that occur between spouses are treated identically to other sex crimes under Indiana’s laws today.

For more information on the marital rape exemption, see Marital Rape Laws and Penalties.

Sex Crimes in Indiana

In Indiana, it is a crime to engage in sexual activity:

  • by force or threat of force
  • when the victim is unable to consent due to a mental disability, or
  • when the victim is, for whatever reason, unaware that the act is occurring.

Sexual activity includes sexual touching and oral, anal, and vaginal sex.

Sex crimes are punished more severely when:

  • the defendant threatens or causes injury
  • the defendant is armed, or
  • the victim is drugged.

(Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-42-4-1, 35-42-4-2, 35-42-4-8.)

For more information on sex crimes in Indiana, see Indiana Sexual Battery Laws.

Sex crimes that involve the use of force may also result in charges for regular battery.

For more information on these crimes, see Indiana Battery Laws and Indiana Felony Battery Laws.

Punishment

Depending on the circumstances, sex crimes are punishable by anywhere from six months in jail to 50 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.

(Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-42-4-1, 35-42-4-2, 35-50-2-4, 35-50-2-5, 35-50-2-6, 35-50-2-7.)

Sex Offender Registration

People that commit sex crimes against others, including their spouses, are required to register as sex offenders in Indiana.

(Ind. Code Ann. §§ 11-8-8-4.5, 11-8-8-7.)

Obtaining Legal Advice

If you are charged with a sex crime against your spouse or anyone else, you should contact a local criminal defense attorney immediately. An attorney can protect your rights and help you obtain the best possible outcome under the circumstances.

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