Sexual abuse is a common form of domestic violence. We don’t legally allow physical violence between married partners. Tell your legislators to stop legally allowing sexual abuse between married partners.

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Sexual abuse (first degree, second degree, and third degree) is when a person subjects another person to sexual contact without consent and the lack of consent is due to the victim being:

  • Forcibly compelled
  • Physically helpless
  • Legally “mentally defective”
  • Mentally incapacitated
  • Too young to consent

WV code defines sexual contact as:

“Sexual contact” means any intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the breasts, buttocks, anus or any part of the sex organs of another person, or intentional touching of any part of another person’s body by the actor’s sex organs, where the victim is not married to the actor and the touching is done for the purpose of gratifying the sexual desire of either party.

WV Code defines “married” as:

“Married”, for the purposes of this article in addition to its legal meaning, includes persons living together as husband and wife regardless of the legal status of their relationship.

Therefore, if you are married and your marital partner makes sexual contact in an abusive manner (without “physical resistance or any clear communication of the victim’s lack of consent” or without consent due to forcible compulsion, being physically helpless, Legally “mentally defective,” Mentally incapacitated or Too young to consent), your marital partner cannot be charged with a sexually violent crime.

However, if the SAME ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR was perpetrated by a non-married partner, the perpetrator could be charged with a sexually violent crime.