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Lawyer’s Comments put Marital Rape in Spotlight

A lawyer for Donald Trump has defended claims that the presidential candidate raped his then wife, Ivana Trump, early on in their marriage, by stating “you can’t rape your spouse”.

Michael Cohen, a key member of Donald Trump’s campaign and a trained lawyer, said the following:

“You’re talking about the front-runner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as private individual who never raped anybody. And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse.”

Cohen’s comments were a response to questions put to him by The Daily Beast, regarding allegations from 1989, that Trump had raped Ivana. She apparently used the word ‘rape’ to describe and incident between the then husband and wife, and stated that she had felt ‘violated’ at the time.

Marital rape has been illegal in the US since 1984. Cohen has since apologised for his comments, however they have brought to light the fact that in a number of US states, marital rape is treated more leniently.

This has been seconded by Jill Hasday, a professor of law at Minnesota University, who has stated marital rape is not treated the same as rape outside of marriage.

Scott Berkowitz, president of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network said that Cohen’s statements are “clearly wrong and don’t reflect current law”. He went on to say:

“Most spouses don’t report to police and even when they do it can be a more difficult thing to prove in court or to get a conviction on, so sometimes prosecutors are reluctant to take on cases like that.

“But of course that doesn’t change the underlying fact that it’s against the law.”

In 1991, rape of a spouse became a crime in the UK. The 2003 Sexual Offences Act clarified this law, giving consent as a legal definition in England and Wales.

Sexual abuse claims – expert advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).

For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Sources: The Guardian; BBC News; The Independent

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