In the U.S., every state has created its own laws regarding marital rape. At its most basic level, marital rape is unwanted sexual behavior between wedded partners. The Texas Penal Code classifies marital rape as a type of sexual assault. Sexual assault occurs when a person intimately or erotically touches another without consent. An individual’s consent may be withheld if the actions are done with force or the threat of force. Furthermore, a person who is unconscious or unresponsive because of drugs, alcohol or disabilities is said to withhold consent.
The sexual assault of a partner may be upgraded to aggravated sexual assault (with harsher criminal penalties) if any of the following conditions apply:
- The victim was in fear of bodily harm
- The accused caused or threatened bodily harm to the victim or a third party
- The accused brandished a deadly weapon during the alleged attack