Rape Definition and Legal Meaning
On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Rape, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.
What is Rape?
(n) Rape is the sexual intercourse of penetrating vagina by penis without the consent of the women by resorting force, threat or violence etc.
History and Meaning of Rape
Rape is defined as any non-consensual sexual act, usually involving the penetration of one party by another. This term has a long history, and tragically, instances of sexual violence have been recorded throughout human history. For many centuries, rape was viewed as a crime against the honor of a woman or her family rather than as a crime against the woman herself.
Thankfully, modern understanding of sexual assault recognizes it not as a loss of honor but as a violation of the victim’s autonomy and bodily integrity. While there is still much work to be done to prevent and prosecute sexual assault, the legal definition of rape has expanded to make more clear what actions are considered illegal.
Examples of Rape
- Someone blackmailing a coworker into having sex with them.
- A person taking advantage of an intoxicated individual to have sex with them.
- A spouse using physical force to have sex with their partner, despite their objections.
- A person grabbing someone in a public place and sexually assaulting them.
- An individual having sex with someone who has been drugged or incapacitated in some way.
Legal Terms Similar to Rape
- Sexual Assault - This term is often used to describe acts that do not meet the legal definition of rape but are still non-consensual sexual acts.
- Statutory Rape - This term refers to sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of consent, regardless of whether or not the minor consents.
- Forced Sexual Contact - This term refers to a physical act that falls short of rape but is still considered sexual assault.