Marital rape laws, 1976-2002 from exemptions to prohibitions /

by 1978- McMahon, Jennifer J.

Abstract (Summary)
Originally, all 50 states legally defined rape as sexual intercourse with a female, not a spouse, forcibly and against her will (Russell 1990). It was not until late in the 1970s, during the second women’s rights movement, that state courts and legislatures began abolishing the marital rape exemptions (Bergen 1996). As of 2002, however, only 24 states and the District of Columbia had completely abolished their marital rape exemptions. The purpose of the present paper is to examine the state-to-state variation in marital rape laws. Using conflict theory and research on the process of diffusion to guide the analysis, I examine the social, political, and gender environments of a state that may increase a state’s likelihood of completely abolishing their marital rape exemptions. The results from an event history analysis indicate that the social and gender climates of a state significantly affect the likelihood of adopting a marital rape law. Specifically, states with a higher proportion of Whites and states with a higher percentage of women in the labor force are more likely to abolish completely their marital rape exemptions. Additionally, being in close proximity to other states that have abolished completely their marital rape exemptions decreases a state’s likelihood of abolishing their exemptions.
Bibliographical Information:


School:The University of Georgia

School Location:USA - Georgia

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:

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