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415 0 0 0 1. 748 0 0 0 2. 624 0 0 0 1. 47 0 0 0 13 6. 5 0 1 0 6. Tuesday after he said—in response to an old allegation against Trump—that it’s impossible to rape one’s spouse.

Cohen said that he did not actually believe what he had said. His original statement also happens to be inaccurate—spousal rape is a crime in the U. English common law, the source of much traditional law in the U. That idea stood for centuries. Then, in 1979, a pair of cases highlighted changing legal attitudes about the concept. Until then, most state criminal codes had rape definitions that explicitly excluded spouses.

As the year opened, a man in Salem, Ore. The case believed to be the first-ever American conviction for spousal rape came that fall, when a Salem, Mass. It’s not hard to see how this case was the one that made the possibility of rape between a married couple clear to the public: they were in the middle of a divorce, and the crime involved house invasion and violence. 17 states had gotten rid of the rules that made spousal rape impossible to prosecute. But if you can’t rape your wife, who can you rape? And yet, when incidents were pursued, the charges tended to stick: the vast majority of cases brought in the first years after 1979 led to a conviction.