Police use current case to shine a light on marital rape - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Police use current case to shine a light on marital rape

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PRINCETON, W. Va (WVVA)-- You may be aware April is designated as "Sexual Assault Awareness Month," but you may not be familiar with the full definition of "sexual assault" under West Virginia law.

Spousal, or marital rape, is a form of sexual assault that police say is under-reported. A recent case making its way through Mercer County court addresses alleged marital sexual assault .

Athens police say Ahmed, or "Ed", Salau is charged with first degree sexual assault after allegedly raping his wife while she slept at their Athens home last November.

Salau was in court Thursday for a bond hearing. He refused to give us a comment.

Police hope this case shines a light on sexual assault in marriage, which is something they say many people may not realize is a crime punishable by law.

"If a subject says no, no means no," said Athens Police officer C.T. Lowe. "So if a husband or wife is forced, it still becomes the product of a sexual assault."

Prosecutor John McGinnis said the law still protects spouses, despite marriage vows.

"When you get married you don't sell your rights away to your husband," he said. "You don't become a piece of property... in West Virginia. You still have rights. No means no."

Police also say men and women often press charges months after these crimes take place, but it is important for them to seek help from authorities and community support resources if they suspect this has happened to them.

We are told Salau's wife has filed for divorce and has been granted a domestic violence petition to keep them separated while the case is being handled.

Salau has other charges pending against him in Georgia and Missouri. He is in jail in West Virginia until he can make bond, after which he will be placed on home confinement.

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