In late 2017, women emerged from the shadows of their unfounded shame to shed light on sexual assault, and its prevalence in modern society. Their efforts initially played out over social media, where they used the hashtag #MeToo to "[giving] people a sense of the magnitude of the problem,” as actress Alyssa Milano once put it.
The #MeToo movement allowed women to reclaim their strength after suffering the horrors of sexual assault. Its effects can be seen among women of all ages and in all communities. The pervasive problem exists not only among single women, but in long-term relationships and even marriage.
At the DiPietro Law Group, PLLC, our Maryland divorce lawyers are intimately acquainted with some of the ways that sexual assault can affect marriages, and ultimately lead to divorce and separation proceedings, in addition to any criminal procedure. Read on to discover the connection between #MeToo and divorce.
Acknowledging Sexual Assault Exists in Marriage
At one time, the very concept of rape or assault within marriage was unthinkable. Many cultures across the world did not even allow for the concept of spousal rape until the end of the 20th century. Fortunately that has changed for the most part: Today, Americans widely agree that sexual abuse can and does occur within the boundaries of marriage.
With #MeToo taking center stage over the last year, women are more willing to openly acknowledge the role sexual assault plays in all walks of life — even supposedly happy relationships. This means that more divorce cases may also start to include allegations of rape, spousal abuse, and other forms of intimate partner violence.
What Happens When Somebody Else Is the Victim?
If the marriages of Scott Baio, Roy Moore, and Anthony Wiener are any indication, those who appear to enjoy loving relationships with their spouse may make horrible choices outside of marriage, and these can include sexual assault.
When this behavior comes to light, it can be difficult for otherwise unaware spouses to accept. Some stand by their husband or wife and fight allegations, while others file for divorce almost immediately. If your partner is convicted for assaulting or raping another person, their criminal behavior could constitute grounds for a divorce.
When Can Sexual Assault Become Grounds For My Divorce?
Maryland maintains several grounds for divorce. Three are particularly relevant for relationships involving assault: cruelty, adultery, and criminal conviction. Cruelty can be argued if your spouse assaulted, harassed, or verbally abused you while married. Unfortunately, you may struggle to prove your spouse's misdeeds; #MeToo has changed many things, but not the burden of proof required for a fault-based divorce.
Representing Assault Victims in Maryland Divorce Cases
Although the times may be changing for the better for women, there are still many difficult conversations playing out in divorce courts and criminal courts across the country. Sexual assault has no place in any marriage, and if any sexual misconduct happened over the course of yours, you may now be able to more fully speak out thanks to the #MeToo movement. When you work with our Maryland divorce lawyers, we can help you begin to get the healing – and the freedom – that you need in the wake of a sexual assault from your partner.At DiPietro Law Group, PLLC, we can help you address sexual assault as an element of your legal separation case. Whether you desire a protective order or a grounds-based divorce, you can count on our team for proactive representation. Contact us today at (888) 530-4374 for more information.