According to Harris, her husband sexually assaulted her for the first time nearly a week after a big fight in 2008. Their two boys, who were 2 and 5 years old at the time, were upstairs.
"He comes at me and decided he wants sex and he's really wanting sex and I'm like, 'No! We haven't even talked or made up or anything. I'm not having sex with you.' He said, 'This isn't up for negotiation," she said.
She filed charges against her husband, and after several delays, the trial began in 2010.
In court Shawn Harris admitted to past domestic violence, ABC News affiliate KGTV reported, but his defense attorney said he never raped his wife, arguing that the couple was merely "role playing."
"It was rough sex but at no time did I force her to do anything against her will," Shawn Harris said in court. "Just another opportunity to yell and scream to get our adrenaline pumping during sex."
Crystal Harris says the couple "never" engaged in role playing, and her hidden audio recording of the incident proves otherwise.
She bought the tape recorder because she said her husband had been making death threats.
"So I had set it in my underwear drawer and I thought if I get a chance I'll do it," she told ABCNews.com.
On the day of the assault, she says she went into the bathroom then came back out and pretended to change her underwear. That's when she hit 'record.'
It was that tape that ended up convicting Shawn Harris of forced oral copulation.
His criminal defense attorney, Herb Weston, was not immediately available for comment.
Although Shawn Harris was convicted of one crime and sentenced to six years in jail, the other two charges he faced -- spousal rape by force and sodomy -- resulted in a hung jury.
Although the beginning of the audio recording started with what Harris describes as "extremely violent" oral copulation, she said she wasn't protesting during the portion where they engaged in sexual intercourse, because she was "thinking about how our children are upstairs."
"It just tells you how hard spousal rape is to prosecute," Harris added.
Ordered to Pay Spousal Support
Her divorce was finalized in 2010. Judge Gregory Pollack ordered her to pay Shawn Harris' spousal support, and in October, he ordered her to pay his legal bills from the divorce.
In a statement received by ABCNews.com on Friday afternoon, spokeswoman Karen Dalton from the San Diego Superior Court said, "Per the California Code of Judicial Ethics, canon 3B(9), which prohibits a judge from making public comment about a pending or impending proceeding, Judge Pollack will be unable to discuss the details of the proceedings."
California family code currently states "the criminal conviction of an abusive spouse shall be considered in making a reduction or elimination of a spousal support award" and it's that language that gives the judge discretion when making a spousal support ruling.
If a spouse is convicted of attempted murder, however, then a judge cannot award any spousal support to the convicted spouse.
San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis is now leading the fight to change the language in that exception so that it doesn't say "attempted murder," and instead says "violent felony."
She's assembling support for the new phrasing on both sides of the aisle, although she cannot yet reveal which politicians will author the bill.
"We've already began talking to a few folks who are outraged," she said. "When things like this happen it's not a partisan issue, it's the right thing to do."