DEAR ABBY: There is a topic I haven't seen addressed in your column, namely being sexually abused by a spouse. I ended my marriage because my husband was waking me at 2 a.m. demanding sex. He expected me to have sex only a week after I had our baby, although my doctor had said I should wait six weeks. If I thought something he wanted me to do was degrading, he insisted I do it anyway.
It amazes me that the subject of spousal abuse isn't mentioned in premarital counseling. No one seems willing to acknowledge this kind of abuse exists. Is there even a "survivors" network or support group to cope? I went to individual counseling, but it didn't help me.
I think it would be helpful if society would acknowledge this kind of thing does happen. I also think that those who offer premarital counseling should be required to discuss the warning signs of a sexual abuser. -- THE EX MRS. BROWN
DEAR EX MRS. BROWN: It is interesting that this topic isn't addressed more often, because domestic violence can happen to anyone and it shouldn't be overlooked. No one has the right to coerce a partner into doing something she or he doesn't want to do, whether it's done through physical violence or relentless verbal abuse.
When there is forced sex in a marriage, the name for it is marital or spousal rape. Like any other kind of rape, it is not an act of love but a way of asserting control and dominance. If you contact the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), it should be able to refer you to a support group for survivors. The toll-free number to call is 800-656-4673. (You can also find it online at rainn.org.)