Prevalence of wife rape and other intimate partner sexual coercion in a nationally representative sample of women

Violence Vict. 2002 Oct;17(5):511-24. doi: 10.1891/vivi.17.5.511.33717.


This article provides a national estimate of wife rape and various other types of sexual coercion by a spouse or intimate partner. Findings from a 1997 national probability sample revealed that 34% of women were victims of some type of sexual coercion with a husband or partner in their lifetime. Of these women, 10% experienced rape by a current partner. This rate increased to 13% when only victims of rape by a current husband were included, which is consistent with previous studies on wife rape. Other findings reveal that women had unwanted sex with a current spouse or partner in return for a partner's spending money on them (24%), because they thought it was their "duty" (43%), after a romantic situation (29%), after the partner begged and pleaded with them (26%), and after their partner said things to bully them (9%). The importance of examining a continuum of sexual coercion is discussed and findings are compared and contrasted with other prevalence rates for sexual coercion in marriage.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Rape / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States