ITEM A husband and wife m Australia were makmg love (or so he thought) and she asked him to stop. The following morning she called the police and reported him as a rapist, darning it took him thirty seconds to stop. He claims he stopped nght away. He received four years in prison.66
Australian men responded by a typical burying of feelings (jokes about "the thirty-second rapist"), while Australian women’s magazines continued their articles criticizing men for their fear of commitment.
ITEM In the United States. Wiliam Hethemgton puts it this way in a flyer appealing for a retrial-67
MY NAME IS WILLIAM HETHERINGTON. I am a man falsely accused, convicted, and IMPRISONED FOR 15 TO 30 YEARS for spousal rape. All I ask is a chance to be fairly heard n court…
I WAS FALSELY ACCUSED AND CONVICTED OF RAPING MY WIFE after having normal marital relations. Neither force nor coercion was used or ever proved. Nor did personal mjur-у occur. Her accusation was all that was needed to convict me and send me to prison.
MOTIVATION FOR THE RAPE ACCUSATION was to gam an advantage in a pending divorce action and to gam custody of our three children. They had
been my care for the previous three months as my wife had deserted our family.
This was the fourth time my wife had made this allegation. All other cases were dropped.
I COULD NOT HIRE A LAWYER OR INVESTIGATOR of my choice because my wife obtained an order n the divorce case freezing my assets. The criminal court judge refused to appocit a cnrrvnal defense attorney for me. stating I had assets even if I could not use them. I never even had an appeal because I must be found ndigent to get a transcript
MY LIFE IS A NIGHTMARE. I have served 4 years in jail for the "enme" of having marital relations with my wife of 16 years and afterward accused of rape.
I ask for the nght to legal counsel.
I ask for access to my assets to pay for legal fees.
I ask for regular visitation with my children.
What the flyer did not mention was:
Hetherington’s wife made all four of the rape charges during times the couple was fighting over child custody/*
The political dynamics. Hetherington’s wife wanted to drop the case, but the prosecutor was running for reelection and the ACLU and feminist groups were pressing for conviction.69 Because Hetherington had no prior convictions, state guidelines recommended a sentence of no more than ten years. The judge gave Hetherington fifteen to thirty.70
What has allowed spousal rape to become such an issue almost overnight after thousands of years of marriage? Spousal rape accusations are rife in countries in which divorce is rife – countries like Australia and Canada. Spousal rape legislation gives the woman a nuclear bomb. Most husbands realize that their careers could be mined merely by having the accusation made public and their employer being afraid of headlines saying, "Pleasant – ville Teacher Accused of Rape."
As we have seen, both sexes have sex when they don’t want to – even on the first date. But in a relationship this is especially true: both sexes engage in mercy sex. And that’s the difference between having a relationship and not having a relationship – all good relationships require giving in, especially when our partner feels strongly. The Ms. survey can call it a rape; a relationships counselor will call it a relationship.
Spousal rape legislation is blackmail wailing to happen. If a man feels he needs to Hie for divorce, his wife can say, "If you do, I’ll accuse you of spousal rape." Spousal rape legislation is worse than governmcnt-as-substi- tute-husband; it’s government in the bedroom.
What, though, can be done? Should the law have any role?