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Intimate Partner Sexual Abuse: Adjudicating This Hidden Dimension of Domestic Violence Cases—A Free Web Course for the DV Community  

Author:  Lynn Hecht  Schafran, J.D. .

Source: Volume 05, Number 01, Summer 2012 , pp.7-12(6)

Family & Intimate Partner Violence Quarterly

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Legal scholar and attorney Lynn Hecht-Schafran is a prolific writer with expertise on issues revolving around gender bias in the courts. Here, she directs our attention toward one of the more hidden forms of interpersonal violence, intimate partner sexual abuse (IPSA). She begins her discussion with a comment made by a judge that summarizes the prevalence of this problem: If violence in the home is as common as we know it is, why would anyone doubt that violence is often perpetrated in the bedroom? Yet, as the author notes, a man’s forcing his partner to engage in sexual acts against her will wasn’t viewed as rape, nor considered a form of intimate partner abuse, until quite recently. Thanks to a recent body of literature, we now recognize that sexual abuse may be a harbinger of more lethal forms of violence and causes serious harms, such as life-long physical injuries to victims, psychological trauma to children, and, in some instances, homicide. In response to the insufficient detection and understanding of IPSA among victim advocates, Ms. Schafran and others have developed online education and training modules on these very issues, and these have been disseminated free of charge and made available to any professional who might benefit from this cutting edge knowledge. In this article, she discusses the nature and consequences of IPSA, then goes on to describe an online training program on these topics that has been made available, for free, to DV professionals and service providers.

Keywords: risk assessment, marital rape, License to Rape: Sexual Abuse of Wives, Victim Impact: Listen and Learn, PTSD, Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748

Affiliations:  1: Legal Momentum.

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