New legislature hopes to change spousal rape laws in Ohio

Records scarce on sexual misconduct at Ohio Statehouse
Posted at 5:13 AM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 13:04:22-04

A new piece of legislature in Ohio wants to make it illegal for a married person to rape their partner.

Ohio is one of a few states where spousal rape is still legal, and House Bill 121 wants to change that. The bill would "eliminate the spousal exceptions" for crimes like rape, sexual battery and gross sexual imposition.

"It is just offensive to me as a woman, as someone who is married, that under Ohio law my husband, my spouse under certain circumstances, it is not criminal for him to engage in the act of raping me,” Rep. Kristin Boggs, who sponsored the bill, said.

Boggs said people who oppose the bill think if the exemption is removed, false accusations would pour in, especially in divorce cases. She doesn't believe that will happen, though, and she said the benefits outweigh the risks.

"It is really nearly impossible to prove these allegations unless there is concrete evidence that is indisputable that a marital spouse engaged in raping their partner,” Boggs said.

This bill was first introduced to the House in 2017 and has been brought up to the legislature three times. The bill is in the House Criminal Justice Committee, and opposing testimony had not been heard as of Friday.