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Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil

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"In the criminal justice system, sexually-based offenses are considered especially heinous."

In many works of fiction, especially situations of Rape as Drama, rape is not merely bad; it's a qualitatively different level of evil. As such, a rape scene can be used as a Kick the Dog moment for a particularly evil character, or as the point where a character who previously was merely unlikeable crosses the Moral Event Horizon into Complete Monster territory.

Note that not only is rape considered a game changer for almost all characters, but it is also so for the writer. Many stories and Crapsack Worlds have Complete Monsters who don't commit rape, even though everything about their character indicates they could, would, or should. There are also times when rape is kept "off camera" or otherwise something in the past, or hinted at once and never brought up again. Having rape in a story will immediately plunge it into the darkest and edgiest abyss of all that is Darker and Edgier. If they don't portray the rape as dark enough, then Values Dissonance (and thus the most scathing criticism from the audience) will happen.

A sub-trope of Even Evil Has Standards when rape disgusts a villain, and the opposite of Rape Is Love. Compare Wouldn't Hit a Girl, Wouldn't Hurt a Child. Contrast Black Comedy Rape. Related to the idea of rape as a Fate Worse Than Death. When refusal to engage in this is a sign of the good guys superiority it is The Women Are Safe with Us.

Woe betides a rapist who is caught by a Wife-Basher Basher: The results are NOT pretty.

No Real Life Examples, Please

Examples of Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil include:


Anime & Manga Edit

  • Death Note: Light Yagami was made more sympathetic in the anime adaptation of the manga by changing his second murder from the killing of man who was sexually harassing a woman to the killing of a man who was attempting to rape a woman.
  • Berserk features Femto's rape of Casca, which most viewers consider the most evil crime in the entire series.
  • In Bleach, Ulquiorra calls Nnoitra "disgusting" for toying with the idea of sexually assaulting Orihime, despite being a member of Big Bad Sousuke Aizen's army. To underline that Ulquiorra is, in fact, still evil, he goes on to detail exactly how he and Aizen are screwing Orihime's head and sapping her will to resist.
    • Also, when Aizen and his lackeys stole a piece of Matsumoto's soul to help awaken the Hougyoku, the imagery used to underline the especially evil nature of this act heavily suggested gang-rape.
  • What tends to push Muraki, the villain in Yami no Matsuei, firmly into Complete Monster territory is that he raped and murdered Hisoka. Serial killer? Whatever.
  • In Rideback, it's the threat of rape, to obtain a false confession, that pushes the military government into Complete Monster territory. And they'd already killed someone surrendering to them. The rebel forces aren't much better, so its inclusion was what told us that these were the designated villains.
  • Ichi the Killer. Kakihara is messed up in all sorts of ways, but only the twins, who pretty much rape their way through the series, get Complete Monster treatment.
  • Averted in Basilisk. While he has no problem committing rape several times, this is NOT what makes Tenzen undeniably evil, but rather, the way he does it, his motivation, and his love of emotional abuse. Jingoro who also attempted rape at one point still manages to retain some sympathy (although he DID pick the wrong victim to mess with so it didn't work).
  • In Blade of the Immortal, the only guys present who does not rape Rin's mother are the ones we're supposed to sympathize with later on, and Anotsu explicitly forbids the rape of Rin herself because "assaulting children shows no class".
  • In volume 9 of the Durarara novel after Izaya outsmarts Earthworm and basically orders Ran to do what he wanted with her, Ran does terrible things like set her on fire to the point that she had to roll all over the table of broken glass and get pierced in multiple parts of the body and broke her leg. (She had it coming though.) he takes one look at her and implies that he was going to rape her in front of Izaya and his lackeys. However, Mikage finally steps him and outright tells Ran that he can torture her, set her on fire or even kill her. However, if he even thinks about crossing the line, she would kill him. Ran doesn't seem that affected by the threat at all but doesn't go through with it...
    • To add to this, there is a theory that Ran sexually abused his brother Aoba, which was the cause of him snapping. If he's not afraid to rape someone in front of multiple people, then one can only imagine the type of person Ran might really be.
  • Raoh from Fist of the North Star, series most famous Big Bad, at one points walks in to see one of his mooks killing-and-raping women For the Evulz and immediately decapitates him with one slap, and flattens the surviving accomplices by riding his elephant-sized stallion Koku-Oh over the bastards. It's one of his most prominent Pet the Dog moments.
  • In Legend of the Blue Wolves Captain Continental's rape and torture of Jonathan cinches him as a Complete Monster.
    • Same deal with Katsuragi's rape and torture of Masataka in Sakura Gari.


Comicbooks Edit

  • Identity Crisis: Dr. Light was evil, but he wasn't evil until it was Ret Conned that he had raped Sue Dibny in the JLA watchtower. Following the retcon, it's become standard practice to write Light as a serial rapist. Quoth Plastic Man: "It's like that's his power now."
  • To quote Doctor Doom in a 2010 issue of X-Factor:

 Doom: I hope you ladies will display more wisdom than your associates... to say nothing of gratitude.

Sue Storm: Gratitude, Doom? For imprisoning me?

Doom: For saving you, foolish woman, from the attentions of an impostor. A Doom from another world, at the risk of sounding melodramatic. The fool. He thought to combine resources with me. As if I was unaware he would eventually seek to betray me. I decided I would allow his game to run its course... but insisted that you be removed from the board. His plans for you were... distasteful. Life is a cheap commodity, but we should have some respect for the intimacies of man and wife, should we not?

  • Averted in Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. When accused of committing rape, or in the process of torturing/vivisecting rapists or pedophiles, Johnny goes on a rant about his general hatred of sexual desire and physical contact, not the morality of rape itself, and lampshades the fact that he has no moral high ground and is a hypocrite. Case in point, he actually rapes some of his own victims with foreign objects, exemplified by time where he put live rats in a man's anus. He practically qualifies as a Cenobite in his own right.
  • In Gearhead, when a quartet of exiled villains easily knock the eponymous protagonist unconscious and they're debating what to do with her, the leader smacks one of them just for a remark that vaguely implies the possibility of raping her [1], reminding him that there's a difference "between criminal and fuckin' evil".
  • In League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, we're first introduced to the Invisible Man while he's in the process of raping boarding school girls. Because it's done in the style of Victorian literature, it's mostly treated as a distasteful perversion by the other characters. Note that this is Deliberate Values Dissonance, and the Invisible Man is very clearly meant to be a Complete Monster.
    • From the same series, Hyde later rapes him to death, and the other characters -- particularly Nemo -- turn on him.
    • And earlier in the series, we first meet Quatermain when he rescues Mina, who has come looking for him, from a pair of would-be rapists.
  • For as often as Empowered ends up bound, gagged, and nude in a room full of villains, they rarely attempt to assault her, because this would violate the "Unwritten rules" between heroes and villains. Those few villains willing to break the rules are, well, you know...
  • You show The Joker killing babies, committing mass murder, and abusing the hell out of Harley? All fine and dandy. But, if like Brian Azarello, you have him raping somebody ... All hell will break loose on the Internet. Never mind that the book is filled with mutilation of all kinds and the fact that compared to all the other horrible acts depicted in graphic detail, that particular horrible act is depicted with a fair amount of discretion.
  • Surprisingly averted by Watchmen. The Comedian, who seems set up to be a Complete Monster, expressly states, "I mean, I've done bad things. I've done bad things to women, I've killed kids, but that was fucking WAR!" No one really seems to argue this, not even the Big Bad, whose actions caused The Comedian to utter said line during an emotional breakdown. One of his depicted victims also more-or-less forgave him years later, although some days less so than others.
  • Frank Castle hates most criminals with a cold, brutal passion, but rapists he harbors an extra bit of hatred for -- especially human traffickers who sell sex slaves.
  • In Final Crisis Lex Luthor joins Libra in his plans to aid Darkseid in his conquest of the Earth and seems to have no problem with Libra brainwashing people and killing superheroes. But when Libra vaguely implies that after victory he plans organizing rape-train on Supergirl and Lex is going to be first in the line, Luthor teams up with Doctor Shivana to bring him down.


Fan Fiction Edit

  • In the Ranma ½ fanfic Lost Innocence, Kuno rapes a female Ranma, while "she" is under the influence of a love potion administered by Shampoo, which prompts Ukyo to use a Yusenkyo spring water to turn him into a mouse and let him out in the forest... Where he is bitten in half by an owl.
  • In Tiberium Wars, even the Brotherhood of Nod is disgusted by rape, and it is implied that Kane personally considers it reprehensible. (Sexual assault is listed as a "Class One Offense against the Messiah.") Soldiers caught in the act can be summarily executed, which happens when a Nod soldier tries to rape Sandra Telfair. He almost manages to pull it off, when a Black Hand busts in, beats the attacker senseless against a wall while repeatedly telling the Nod soldier what his offense was, and then chucks him out a window, once again proving that even evil has standards.
  • In "Canisp", this is part of what sets the thoroughly unlikable dominants apart from the Complete Monster Vereor. The author even stated that while Ignavus, the resident Jerkass, was universally hated, he would never stoop to rape.
  • The villain of the first part of The Private Diary of Elizabeth Quatermain very calmly states his intent to have the title character raped repeatedly as a way of helping him repay a few favors he owes. This is doubly squicky since the announcement comes right after he tells her that he's her illegitimate half-brother. The one who was promised the first go is just getting started when help arrives.
  • Team Fortress 2 is a universe populated by psychopaths, sociopaths, murderers and assholes, on both sides. In a great deal of its fanfiction, the bad guy is picked out as the only one who will commit the act of rape. There is however fanfiction where characters commit borderline rape and you're still meant to see some other character as the 'villain'.
  • Used in the Redwall (with a dash of Twilight Hatedom and The Decemberists references) fanfic "Cullin' of the Fold". The vermin are horrified by the suggestion that they're going to rape the Mary Sue but see nothing at all wrong with eating her.
  • Semi-example in Mistakes; the nation-tans don't mind being killed at all because it doesn't stick, but being raped still traumatises them.


Films Edit

  • M is about a bunch of criminal gangs that work together to capture a child-rapist/murderer. Although many of the gang members are themselves guilty of murder and such, they still see themselves as morally superior to the pedophile. This combines Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil with Wouldn't Hurt a Child. Lampshaded and even deconstructed by one character, who suggests that Hans may actually be less blameworthy, because for him killing is a compulsion, whereas the others all have a choice.
    • Hell, the serial killer himself deconstructs their adherence to this trope with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech directed towards them all; he knows and hates that he's a monster, but he does what he does because he's mentally ill and can't control his compulsions, whereas they do what they do because they're too lazy or greedy to seek honest employment.
  • The only criminal we see the hero kill in the film version of Daredevil is, you guessed it, a rapist who escaped justice.
  • It takes the implied rape of his wife to convince the protagonist of The Devil's Advocate to turn on the villain, as well as convincing him that his evil father really is Satan.

 Milton: On a scale of one to ten, ten being the most depraved acts of sexual theater known to man, one being an average Friday night run-through at the Lomax household, I'd say, not to be immodest, me and Maryann got it on at about...seven.

 Cyrus: I despise rapists. For me, you're somewhere between a cockroach and that white stuff that accumulates at the corner of your mouth when you're really thirsty. But, in your case, I'll make an exception.

 Cyrus: If your dick jumps out of your pants, you jump out of this plane!

  • For all his murdering and drug dealing, it's committing rape that sets up the downfall of Little Ze in City of God, though this is in part because of a supposed magic charm that requires celibacy on his part.
  • In Hollow Man, Caine was a bit of a Jerkass to start and moreso when he gets turned invisible. Then we're shown how depraved he's become when he rapes a woman while invisible.
  • Subverted in Happiness, one of the only films ever to feature an almost positive portrayal of a pedophile who drugs young boys to have sex with them, he is more human than most of the other characters in the film. The whole film is about the dissonance between what society tells us makes us happy and what really makes us happy taken to an extreme.
  • Averted in Minority Report, where murder is the designated special evil. The precogs can't see rapes, assaults, suicides, or presumably theft and such, but they can see murders, because "there's nothing more destructive to the metaphysical fabric that binds us than the untimely murder of one human being by another."
  • In The Film of the Book of The Sheik, the actual rape is converted to a Near-Rape Experience, in order to make the film Sheik more sympathetic and to satisfy what few Moral Guardians there were in the 1920's.
  • In Veronica Guerin, the journalist is proving resistant to threats on her life from career criminals, so John Gilligan issues her the following phonecall:

 "If I ever hear from you again, I'm gonna take your son, And I'm gonna ride him. Do you understand me? I'm going to take your son. And I'm going to ride him."

  • The protagonist in The Generals Daughter spends the whole movie trying to figure out who killed the title character, which leads to an investigation of her rape while at West Point which was covered up. During his search for truth, he is told by another character that what happened to her was worse than rape. His response, "What's worse than rape?" is pure this trope. The answer is: Betrayal. The General agreed to help cover up his daughter's rape in exchange for a promotion.
  • Freddy Krueger of A Nightmare on Elm Street was originally going to be a pedophile, but Wes Craven didn't want to be accused of capitalizing on several real-life child molestation cases going on at the time. There were subtle hints of it, but he was officially only a child murderer. The remake reinstates the sexual aspect of his crimes and actually removes the murder, which most audiences saw as upping the ante of his crimes overall.
  • The original Highlander movie had the Big Bad rape the hero's second wife (the one he married after becoming immortal) right after killing his mentor hundreds of years ago. Apparently, she never told MacLeod, because the shock of it when the villain casually mentions it in the modern setting is enough to provoke MacLeod into almost attacking him on Holy Ground (the only real No-No for Immortals) and because he mockingly insinuated that she didn't tell McLeod because she liked it
  • In Dragonheart, there's a Near-Rape Experience between the evil king Einon and his would-be assassin Kara. The novelization of the film takes it a step beyond; he actually does rape her. In both cases, it's done entirely to show just how far beyond the Moral Event Horizon Einon has cheerfully wandered.
  • In Chinese flick The Warlords, the character played by Jet Li orders the execution of two of his soldiers -- mere boys from the village most of his army hails from -- for raping two girls. This after the army had taken the town in yet another bloody battle.
  • Honey Ryder's backstory in Dr. No includes her being raped by her landlord. She got her revenge for it by poisoning him with a female black widow.[2] She asks Bond if she did wrong, and Sean Connery's acting plays the trope dead straight.

  Bond: Well, it wouldn't do to make a habit of it, but...

  • Cape Fear's main antagonist is Max Cady, a wife-beater who was released after eight years and intends to rape the prosecuting attorney's wife and 12-year-old daughter.
  • In the movie Blindness, the king of ward 3 is seen as a violent idiot with far too much power. Then when he forces all the women to have sex with him and his men in exchange for food, it is made clear that he is completely inhumane.
  • Marcellus Wallace's rapists, Maynard and Zed, are pretty much the only characters in Pulp Fiction who could truly be considered "bad guys". Every other major character is at least a bit sympathetic.
  • Initially, Moulin Rouge! has the Duke as something of an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villian, but when he tries to rape Satine during "El Tango De Roxanne", he loses any sympathy the audience might have had and overall becomes more menacing and creepy.
  • Sucker Punch: The way all the orderlies and viewers of the girls dancing in the brothel are depicted as entirely gross, creepy and evil. (After Baby Doll's sister dies and her mother dies)


Interactive Fiction Edit

  • Infocom's Plundered Hearts, which features a set female protagonist in a historical setting, has a scene where the heroine runs the risk of being raped by the evil nobleman Jean Lafond. Should the player do nothing, the game will abruptly end with one sentence telling that he took her to bed followed by 'You have suffered a Fate Worse Than Death' and an abrupt game over. Thwarting this attempt and escaping with her virtue still intact is the goal of that scene -- and when the heroine's love interest hears about the attempt, he's more determined to kill Lafond than ever. (Lafond had previously killed Captain Jamison's brother -- but this clearly pushes Lafond over into Complete Monster territory).
  • The first half of Anchorhead is largely devoted to digging up the unsavory backstory of the Verlacs, the family behind the titular Town with a Dark Secret. You pretty much know that the Big Bad is a Complete Monster when you find out he's been raping his own daughters to sire grandsons (clearly, his trying to summon an Eldritch Abomination just isn't quite evil enough).
  • This trope crops up often in Adam Cadre's Varicella, featuring a Villain Protagonist in a Sick Sad World where just about everyone who has any real power is a Complete Monster. The King has just died, and Palace Minister Primo Varicella intends to claim the Regency. Varicella is clearly a vain, egotistical Jerkass who routinely fires his staff for leaving specks of dirt on the floor, and is not above murdering his rivals to get himself closer to obtaining Regency. But all that's not so bad compared to his rivals, four of which have raped people on several occasions (two of them bribe an asylum guard to rape a mentally ill woman, another gasses a woman to rape her, and the other is a Pedophile Priest whose main target is the young prince). So of course, the player is most likely to sympathize with Varicella and go along with his plans because the player wants to see those Complete Monsters punished.


Law Edit

  • A woman sued the city after a police officer forced her to have sex or be arrested for a traffic infraction. Justice Arabian of the California Supreme Court had this to say: "By its very nature, rape displays a 'total contempt for the personal integrity and autonomy' of the victim; '[s]hort of homicide, [it is] the "ultimate violation of self."' ( Coker v. Georgia (1977) 433 U.S. 584). Along with other forms of sexual assault, it belongs to that class of indignities against the person that cannot ever be fully righted, and that diminishes all humanity."
    - Mary M. v. City of Los Angeles, 54 Cal. 3d 202; 814 P.2d 1341; 285 Cal. Rptr. 99 (1991).
  • The Pirate Codes of the 17th and 18th centuries called for the death penalty with no alternatives for whomever committed or just attempted to rape a woman. Even for hardened criminals, rape was a crime too heinous to stomach.

  IX. If at any time you meet with a prudent Woman, that Man that offers to meddle with her, without her Consent, shall suffer present Death.


Literature Edit

  • In Belisarius Series the Malwa seem to be fond of rape as no one else is, presumably to show how evil they are. At least one of them even makes a point of physically ravishing Sex Slave s rather then just ordering them to have sex with him. It is even specially noted that in other societies "concubine" means "pampered semi-official junior wife of aristocrats in societies that practice limited polygamy" whereas among the Malwa it means "today's rape victim of an important person". Good guys, of course do not stoop to this sort of thing and in Belisarius' army someone caught raping will have to talk to Valentinian.
  • In Chung Kuo, a world with a Grey and Gray Morality, rebel leader deVore is established as particularly evil through a gruesome rape scene.
  • In the Honor Harrington books, the Masadans and their Church of Humanity Unchained (Defiant) do not recognize that rape is a crime. Their society is based around women as, quite literally, property. They're probably the second-evilest group in the series. (The first evilest is initially epitomized by Manpower (later, the Mesan Alignment), who sell lines of 'pleasure slaves', who are trained from the age of twelve by being continuously raped.)
  • In Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders trilogy, Captain Kennit's personal Moral Event Horizon is crossed when he drugs and rapes Althea. The dragons, who are otherwise depicted as purely selfish and completely uncaring towards "lesser beings" (i.e. humans), and will cheerfully murder and eat whomever they please, point out that this is the one thing that dragons never do. Indeed, this marks the point where Kennit's uncanny luck departs him, and he dies within a few chapters.
  • Averted in The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon. In the ultimate test of our hero's character, stamina, and faith, Paks is put through five days of creative torture at the hands of sadistic cultists. On stage, no less. When gang-rape comes, it's just one more thing amidst all the other horrors, and Paks even reasons that it's not a big deal -- years ago she lost the only man she would have ever thought of saving herself for. And once she's made it through the trial, the fact that she was raped doesn't even stand out as worth mention.
  • In the original Gaston Leroux novel The Phantom of the Opera, Christine expects to be sexually assaulted by the Phantom during her abductions, but he actually has the decency not to do so. This after he has murdered a number of innocent people, especially via his penchant for hanging traps.
  • Played with in the book version of Thunderball. Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the leader of SPECTRE, learns one of the group's agents has slept with a woman kidnapped for ransom, though it's not clear that she was in fact raped. He immediately orders that agent killed and half the ransom payment returned to the woman's father; Blofeld reasons that whatever actually happened, it's better for SPECTRE to be known for honoring its deals. For the uninformed, "SPECTRE " is an acronym for, "Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion".
  • Weirdly averted in a lot of historical romances. It seems to be that if the man is really hot and the back of the book makes it clear he's going to end up with the heroine, rape is really just a great way to finish up a first date, revenge scheme, punishment for a transgression, or abduction. Of course, while she will gasp and say no, the heroine will enjoy it immensely and any bad emotional consequences will be played for titillation, while there will never be any physical harm besides the occasional dramatic pregnancy.
  • Averted like crazy in the Gor series, where rape is not only widespread and accepted, but is practically a male right. Of course, Gor has... interesting ideas about what the word "rape" means.
  • In the Wicked Lovely series, the dark court's treatment of Niall. Physically abused and tortured? Harsh, but understandable. Physically scarred for life? It's in their nature. Emotionally scarred for life? It's still in their nature. Raped? OMFG they are EVIL! To be fair, they could have left it at physical abuse. The rape didn't benefit the court.
  • In The High King, the final installment of the Prydain Chronicles, the readers again encounter Dorath, who had been a villain in the fourth book. That he was a brigand and thief, the readers already knew, but it's not until he announces his intent to rape Princess Eilonwy and have her raped by his friends that he's revealed to be a Complete Monster.
  • In The Summoning, Derek is perfectly willing to allow Liam and Ramon to blame him to the local werewolf pack for their crimes of killing humans with the help of a man-eater (all of which is banned in werewolf culture), until they threaten Chloe. When he refuses to cooperate with them unless they allow her to leave safely, they decide to just kill him and take Chloe for their own pleasure, which in turn pushes Derek’s Berserk Button. It doesn’t help that when Ramon states that she is a little young for his tastes, Liam very happily says that "[he likes] them young".
  • In one of the Pern novels, Dragoneye, one of the Lord Holders of Pern has imprisoned a number of his tenants on trumped-up charges. Two of the guards he assigns to watch over them amuse themselves by raping pregnant women. Turns out that the designated Pernese punishment for this particular crime is castration.
  • In the Kiesha'ra series, the serpiente shapeshifters have a bad reputation with their enemy avians as being very...loose with their sexual morals. In truth, as their prince, Zane, explains to the avian princess Danica, the serpiente believe that rape is a crime of the highest evil, and they will execute anyone accused of it, because, as Zane says, in those cases, "It is considered better to kill an innocent man than to let a guilty one live".
  • In Ricardo Pinto's The Chosen you have a race of humanoids (called the Chosen) who believe they are superior to every other humanoid. As a result most commit horrific acts of torture, mutilation, mass-murder and genocide without blinking. The reader's recognition of this horror and complete culture glut for sadism comes through the eyes of the protagonist, Carnelian, who is a recently un-exiled Chosen who had spent his life secluded in a loving family where he was not brought up with these values. Yet despite everything Carnelian sees, the defining point of evil comes when Carnelian's young half-brother (who is not Chosen) sees the face of another Chosen, which is a crime where the punishment for such an offence is the removal of the offender's eyes. The so-called Chosen 'victim' of this crime tells the boy that he will trade his eyes for 'something else' and then proceeds to rape him repeatedly. This is when Carnelian sees the life go out from his brother's eyes and nothing that follows (including torture, death camps, crucification and witnessing the slow dismembering of another human being over a period of days courtesy of some very sick minds and some very sharp wire) does anything other than slightly deepen that hollowness. The rapist is easily defined as one of the more sadistic sociopaths in the Chosen hierarchy, and It's at this point when the Complete Monster status of his entire race is established, and Carnelian realizes it.
  • In order illustrate the roughness of the frontier and to cement the hero status of the title character in the Vampire Hunter D books it seems like every male character who isn't named D is a serial rapist.
    • This has gotten less common as the series progresses and there are no rapists until the latest translated book, where it's revealed that one of the vampires raped his daughter but then subverts the trope by making him somewhat sympathetic compared to the pedophile suitor of said girl.
  • In Terre d'Ange, the main country in Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy series, rape is not only an unspeakable crime but also heresy because it violates their religion's central precept of Love as Thou Wilt.
  • Completely subverted in Blind Date by Jerzy Kosinski, in which, the protagonist is a rapist, although this fact isn't really central to the plot. The title of the book comes from the practice of assaulting and raping a girl from behind and holding her hair in such a manner that she can never identify her rapist. This activity is treated as a coming-of-age story rather than a horrible crime.
  • The Resident Evil novels made out that several of the villains were rapists to add more Complete Monster points. Pretty accurate for Bryan Irons, but for Nicholi and Wesker, not so much (until Resident Evil 5).
  • Played with in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. The eponymous protagonist's rape of an innocent girl near the beginning is presented as a horrible Moral Event Horizon, but also to show how deeply fucked up he is over his issues; also, it's very clear that Big Bad Lord Foul is immeasurably worse.
    • To be fair, he honestly believed he was having a dream and none of it was real.
  • The Vorkosigan Saga plays with this with Sgt. Bothari. Bothari maintains audience sympathy despite being a rapist because he is incredibly screwed up in the head and, at the time, under the thumb of Vorrutyer. It helps that he truly loves one of his victims and his Child by Rape with her. On the other hand, said victim utterly despises him and also retains audience sympathy.
    • The likewise screwed up in the head Mark also remains sympathetic after very nearly raping a clone body with the mind of a child. Since he's a viewpoint character, we get to see how guilty he feels about it afterwards.
  • The Millennium Trilogy and its counterpart movies show very clearly that although killing hundreds of people in horrible and torturous ways is horrific, raping and violating them beforehand will cement the serial killer in Complete Monster territory like nothing else on the face of the earth. A good yard stick is asking the question "do you think Lisbeth was doing the right thing when she killed those men?" Hands up everyone who answered "yes"?
  • In Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising, Micheal Edwards executes three Russian Soldiers after they've been found having raped a pregnant Icelandic civilan. At least partly triggered by a personal experience (his old girlfriend was brutally raped and killed).
  • In Death: Eve Dallas would completely agree with this, considering what her Complete Monster father Richard Troy had done to her. Naturally, rapists really stick in her craw.
  • In Gone, Caine mentions that he's never tried to rape Diana. Many fans, though, think he's a bit too proud of this, and lording the fact that he could if he wanted to over her not to mention manipulating her into sleeping with him consensually and treating her like dirt afterwards really doesn't help things.
  • In the sixth book of The Legend of Drizzt series, Drizzt muses that even the assassin Artemis Entreri has his standards: he kills people left and right, but he didn't rape Catti-Brie when she was his prisoner.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: Yes, it is! Kathryn Lucas from the book Weekend Warriors will happily agree with this trope. She should, because three bikers raped her in front of her husband. Those three knew that her husband was suffering from multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and seizures, so they knew that he would not be able to stop them. Interestingly, this is one of the few books where the author does not look through the viewpoint of the villain...perhaps to show that their crime is so horrible that going into their minds is too much! Kathryn also explained how she couldn't punish them legally because by the time she got around to that, the statute of limitations for her rape had run out.
  • In the Conan the Barbarian story A Witch Shall Be Born, the mercenary leader Constantius rapes the kind and benevolent Queen Taramis. This scene is used to establish just how depraved and sociopathic Constantius is.

 Salome: Enough of this farce; let us on to the next act in the comedy. Listen, dear sister: it was I who sent Constantius here. When I decided to take the throne of Khauran, I cast about for a man to aid me, and chose the Falcon, because of his utter lack of all characteristics men call good.

  • Averted in Kate Elliot's Crown of Stars series with Lord Wichman. He rapes a woman at least once, and while he does suffer some punishment for it, there is nothing to suggest that this makes Wichman especially evil. That is not to say that Wichman isn't evil, despite being on the same side as the good guys, but rape is just portrayed as one among the many bad things he does. Played straight with Hugh, though.
  • In the Sword of Shadows series, Mace Blackhail was always portrayed as a slimy opportunist looking to grab as much power as he can within the Clanholds, but it's his rape of Raina (the clan chief's widow and his main opponent) which is his Moral Even Horizon, cementing him as a truly evil character who needs to go down hard.
  • Young Adult novel I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga is about the son of America's most notorious Serial Killer, who at one point muses on whether it really matters whether or not a woman (always a woman) was raped before she is horribly tortured, mutilated and killed.


Live-Action TV Edit

  • The entire premise behind Law And Order SVU is pretty much this trope, and rapists on any crime procedural are likely to face a harsher response from the cast than murderers.
    • SVU hung an episode-long lampshade on the fact that they treat rapists more harshly than any other kind of criminal. During this episode, a man was accused of raping a minor, and was basically treated like crap by the cops despite his pleas of innocence. When he complained of being attacked by other prisoners, the cops responded with "You deserve it". Turns out, he really was innocent (and being railroaded by the woman he supposedly raped... she was 24 but looked younger, by the way), trying to scam the hotel for a big settlement, and... oops... the accused rapist was murdered by another prisoner before he could be released. Luckily, that made the "girl" legally culpable for murder.
  • Firefly: Keep in mind the woman in question says she's been accidentally married to Mal, and has been asking him to consummate all episode. Just as she's starting to wear him down:

 Shepherd Book: If you take sexual advantage of her, you're going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater.

    • This is also part of the reason why Jubal Early is considered a Complete Monster, with his threats to rape Kaylee and the implications he might have done the same to River if he'd captured her.
      • In his commentary for that episode, Joss Whedon claims this is a bit of Awesome By Analysis on Early's part: he recognizes Book as a physical threat so he ambushes him and quickly takes him down, he deduces Simon is an educated, thoughtful man so he attempts to reason with him, and he preys on Kaylee's personal fears.
    • While much less serious, a comment Jayne makes in the pilot about Simon's cargo (River in a box) helps solidify his role as the Token Evil Teammate:

 Jayne: It's a girl. She's cute, too, but I don't think she's all there, y'know? *smirks* 'Course, not all of her has to be...

    • Averted in grisly fashion with The Reavers: They're the terrifying boogiemen of the Firefly 'verse. Victims can expect to be raped, yes. But they can also expect to be skinned alive, devoured whilst still living, have their skin turned into clothing, and their bodies used as ornaments on the Reavers' ships. Rape may be a special kind of evil, but it's only one of the MANY special kinds of evil that the Reavers engage in.

 Zoe: If they board this ship, they'll rape us to death, eat our flesh, and sew our skins into their clothing, and if we're very very lucky, they'll do it in that order.

  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike is a soulless demon who has tortured and killed hundreds. Yet he remains the Loveable Rogue, up to the point in Season 6 when he tries to rape Buffy. At that point, he even loses the sympathy of Dawn, who used to think he was pretty cool. More importantly, the attempt even shocks Spike himself, and sends him down the road that leads to him regaining his soul.
    • Equally pointedly, this is the only Spike behavior that Buffy really has a problem with since at least Season 4 if not earlier. Apparently every other despicable thing Spike did on-camera and had done in his past was forgivable from Buffy's point-of-view.
    • A later scene with Spike also hammers this trope home. Spike, who now has a soul, tells Buffy she has to kill him before he hurts anyone else. To convince her, he warns her that if he goes evil again, he is liable to hurt Dawn -- which includes raping her. Apparently the image of Dawn being tortured and killed isn't enough; Spike has to threaten her with rape to get Buffy's attention.
    • Also, Warren's Moral Event Horizon comes when he tries to rape, and then kills, his ex-girlfriend, Katrina. The "kills" is probably the more important part of that equation, but the attempted rape definitely takes him several degrees down the spectrum towards villainy. The point is driven home with Lampshade Hanging and Mood Whiplash. The Trio has used a mind control device on Warren's ex; this is initially played for laughs as they make her dress up in a French maid outfit and serve drinks. Just as Warren is about to realize the Power Perversion Potential of his invention, however, she snaps out of it--and the tone immediately gets much darker as she angrily points out that there's nothing funny--and everything immoral and illegal--about what they were doing to her.
    • Just to show that enjoying killing is not enough and show that she has really become evil, Faith attempts to rape and kill Xander. It's so wrong former Mind Rapist Angel intervenes. With a baseball bat.
    • In Season 4 of the spin-off series Angel, Angelus makes a return appearance, a being that spent centuries torturing and murdering who knows how many people of all ages in the most brutal methods he could devise (and he is very inventive). But apparently that wasn't enough, as the writers have Angelus make constant sexual comments and threats towards both Cordelia and Fred, and even agrees to provide the information they want after Cordelia offers herself to him in every sense of the word.
  • One of the most unsympathetic characters (among so many unsympathetic characters) on The Sopranos must be Dr. Melfi's rapist, Jesus Rossi. Obviously this is also an example of Protagonist-Centered Morality: Tony may be a thug and a murderer, but the most he does to his shrink is to swear at her and break her furniture. Still, Tony would have been much less attractive to the audience -- and to Melfi -- were he guilty of rape.
  • In the season finale of season two of Robin Hood, Guy of Gisborne states that he will "take Marian by force." This is the darkest the character ever gets, and a few scenes later he murders Marian in a scene that has obvious sexual imagery. Believe it or not, the writers do manage to give him a redemption arc in the next season, but it's of the kind that has him denounce his entire life as one that was "lived in shame" and which holds out no hope whatsoever that he'll be reunited with Marian in the afterlife.
  • On The Jay Leno Show, Chris Rock said:

 "Rape's number two. It's murder, then rape. The United States, we want to capture Osama Bin Laden and murder him. We don't want to rape him. That would be barbaric!"

  • Used in Farscape with the episode "Crackers Don't Matter": under the influence of the episode's villain, Crichton begins going progressively insane, and attacks the rest of the crew (most of which are also insane) in a hallucination-riddled frenzy. However, it is his (and Harvey's) contemplation of raping Chiana that really indicates just how deranged Crichton has become.
    • A measure of exactly how evil and utterly terrifying the Scarrans are is the fact that they rape everything. Both physical violation and Mind Rape as well. It's one of the reasons why Scorpius hates the Scarrans so much.
    • Although the couple of times Chiana was raped occurred off-screen, it is made very clear how exactly evil that rape is and exactly what kind of people would sink to that level. The trauma begins to who by season 4 when she begins to become very defensive by season 4 when it comes to anyone -- especially men -- treating anyone weaker than them like property.
  • Even Dexter, a Serial Killer who kills other killers, is sickened by videos of a group of men who filmed themselves torturing and raping thirteen women in season five of the series. It's worth noting that he considered previous season Big Bads to be Worthy Opponents, but these men simply disgust him.
  • Played for comedy in The Onion movie. A woman invites her friends over to play a mystery game, which turns out to be How to Host a Rape. She can't understand why a guest is so horrified, since it's just like the popular How to Host a Murder series, but with a lesser crime, since nobody dies.
  • Subverted in the MASH episode Operation Noselift. When a visiting plastic surgeon hears Margaret being paged to the supply closet, he follows her there and attacks her. She resists and fights back, threatening to hit him in the face with a stick. This only encourages him. The scene is played for laughs. When Hawkeye and Trapper arrive and rescue Margaret, she's upset enough that she allows Trapper to comfort her, but he's still going for laughs and says everything in a Southern accent, which lightens the mood and makes her smile. Afterward, there's no retaliation or punishment or even mention of the event, which is odd because Margaret is known to be very strict for the smallest infractions, but she can completely dismiss an attempted rape.
    • This is likely because of the same factor that makes Margaret take any infraction so seriously -- she's a woman in the army in the 1950s, before woman's lib had really taken flight. She was the only child of a military family and her whole life revolved around it, and would have had to work hard to be taken seriously there. She reports any infractions by people below her to assert her authority and leave them in no doubt that her gender does not make her any more capable of leading them than a man, so she probably didn't report the attempted rape so that she wouldn't be seen as weak.
  • In UK crime series "Legal Scares" which takes place in Florida, one of the episodes features Mark Partson, a ruthless underworld killer who is responsible for over 10,000 deaths as well as countless thefts and drug deals. He ends up confessing to all of his crimes practically asking for a death sentence after his boss back stabs him and says he will rape an innocent random young woman unless he does so. When he turns himself in, when asked why he has done so he answers:

  "It's better for a lowlife like be to have his life ruined then an innocent girl. That girl did shit to no one, so he won't do shit to her..."

  • In Criminal Minds, killers can have psychiatric and psychotic compulsions and reasons behind the murders they perpetrate which are understandable. Paedophiles and rapists have absolutely no such out at all. And considering how much insight this show gives into the minds of the serial killers and victimisers, that's really saying something.
  • Another Joss Whedon example: On Dollhouse it's notable that amoral-seeming Topher makes his Sudden Principled Stand when he's ordered to permanently turn Sierra over to Nolan Kinnard.
  • In Battlestar Galactica, many of the crew, including Captain Adama, are uncertain how precisely to handle the "incident" where the Pegasus' Cylon interrogator tried to rape Sharon while questioning her. One of the exceptions is Doctor Cottle, one of the most upright and moral characters on the show, who bluntly states that what they tried to do to Sharon was "unforgivable."
  • One episode of Quantum Leap has Sam leap into a young rape victim; initially he, Al, and their Mission Control assume that he's supposed to get the rapist convicted, but because the guy comes from a rich and famous family he manages to beat the rap. Then he goes after the girl again, at which point Sam realizes why he's really here and beats the everloving crap out of him; we don't see the end result, but presumably the rapist couldn't escape conviction a second time.
  • Prison Rape is common on Oz and so is complete monsters. As you might guess the two go hand and hand in this show. Quite frequently too.
  • There are not many things Richard Sharpe will not do. Most of them involve harming civilians, and rape is top of the list. And if he catches someone else doing it, he will kill them and damn the consequences.


Tabletop Games Edit

  • This is the reason why servants of Slaanesh in Warhammer and Warhammer 40000 are considered nightmarish even by Chaos standards. Khorne followers maim burn kill, Tzeentch followers manipulate, and Nurgle followers are genuinely friendly, but Slaanesh followers will inflict unimaginable tortures for their own pleasure, death being a gift. Granted, rape is far from the only tool in their considerable arsenal, but it is certainly used.
    • Somewhat subverted (possibly) with the Dark Eldar, for whom it is implied several times that they can be considered even more gruesome and, well, evil, than Chaos. When their new release was announced, the title of the White Dwarf article was "Pray they don't take you alive." They aren't known specifically for rape (although it is possibly included), but some of the things they do can be pure nightmare fuel
      • Of course, Dark Eldar savagery is itself an effort to delay their inevitable consumption by Slaanesh, so...
  • This is the reason why FATAL is notorious as the worst game ever created. It averts this trope most gruesomely. In the FATAL universe, women are more heavily punished for keeping an untidy house than men are for being rapists.
    • The fact that the writers seem almost gleeful during the discussions of rape certainly contributes. Rather famously, when one reviewer called FATAL "the date rape RPG", one of the co-authors responded "Where does it say anything about dating?"
  • Averted in New World of Darkness. While rape is considered an act of depravity, it's placed at the same level as torture, serial murder, and using magic to murder someone (as opposed to murdering them the old-fashioned way), which are lumped under the umbrella "casual/callous crimes." Acts that are considered worse than rape are "utter perversion" and "heinous acts" (e.g., combined rape, torture, and murder; mass murder; stealing a soul).
  • Averted in Dungeons and Dragons 3.X, to some criticism. Specifically, the "Adults Only" supplements, Book of Exalted Deeds and Book of Vile Darkness never bring the subject of rape up at all--even though Vile Darkness is supposed to cover the depths of moral depravity. YMMV on whether this was a bad decision.
    • It is actually mentioned very briefly (a sentence or two) in the Book of Vile Darkness. Rapists are simply described as a sub-section of sadists and control-freaks and left at that.


Videogames Edit

  • Open-ended role-playing games or Karma Meter games as a whole. Plenty of games exist where you can go around slaughtering innocents if you want, but how many allow you to rape someone at will? (In retrospect, not that allowing this would at all make for better games ...)
  • Nippon Ichi are pretty big on this trope:
    • In Disgaea, after Jennifer asks Laharl if demons molested him in chapter 9, Laharl asks in a rather offended voice what she thought demons were. Though this scene was supposed to be funny, it shows that Nippon verse demons draw the line at molestation.
    • In Makai Kingdom, it is shown just what kind of bastard Seedle was when several demons (overlords at that) were absolutely disgusted with him when he is revealed to have been an attempted rapist. Luckily, Salome killed him instead of being raped by him. When he recounts the story like he was wronged, Alex, who until this point had a one track mind on defeating Zetta, drops everything to kick Seedle's ass.
    • In Soul Nomad and The World Eaters, Hawthorne is revealed to be an evil bastard after the discovery that he is a serial rapist.
      • It's notjust casual rape, either. He deliberately raises an orphan girl until adulthood, developing a strong child-parent bond, and then rapes and kills her on her birthday. And then he starts over with a new one.
  • In Dragon Age, rape or threats of rape can help you distinguish a villain who simply must die from most enemies/villains who can be reasoned with and in some cases redeemed.
  • Splinter Cell Conviction has an early flashback where robbers break into Sam's home and discuss raping his wife, resulting in him killing them with his daughter as a witness.
  • It might not have been rape in the physical sense, but the way Hazama/Terumi savagely peeled open the folds of Noel's mind and ravaged her soul, forever tainting her purity and turning her into Mu-12, Sword of the Godslayer: Kusanagi, in Blaz Blue really set a new standard for what you can do to a person without actually touching them... And he had the audacity to snazzily remain likable as he did it.
    • While Relius' fanbase and hatedom have differentiating origins, the latter owes no small amount of its membership to his Mind Rape of Makoto Nanaya in her bad ending, for most of the same reasons outlined in Hazama's "therapy" of Noel. Of course, only Relius' most rabid haters would deny the villain cred that comes with it regardless of its canon status, as Makoto, through a combination of Fantastic Racism tempering, interrogation resistance training, and sheer Heroic Resolve, is one of the few characters to demonstrate consistent resistance, if not outright immunity, to Hazama's conventional Mind Rape techniques, and his most potent death glares paralyze her for shorter periods of time with each invocation - by her Arcade mode battle with him, they don't work anymore!
  • In Conquests of the Longbow, Robin always arranges for Friar Tuck to give anyone he or his men kill in Sherwood Forest a proper burial... except for the would-be rapist, who is dragged off the road and left out for the wolves and ravens.
  • Big Bad Bear in Return to Krondor is implied to have committed the heinous crime of rape on Talia. Naturally, everyone wants him stone dead.
  • Half-Orcs and Half-Ogres in Arcanum are subjected to a lot of Fantastic Racism, partly because everyone assumes that at some point in their ancestry, a male orc or ogre violated an unwilling human woman. In the case of Half-Ogres, the reality is worse; not only are they born of rape, but some gnomes are actively force-breeding ogres with humans because their offspring make brilliant bodyguards. You can visit a factory farm which was once used for this purpose; it's one of the most disturbing areas in the game.
  • Fire Emblem the Sacred Stones has a few scenes where Caellach and Riev explain how cruel Valter's behavior is, due to the way he is implied to victimize women. Keep in mind that Caellach is a sociopathic Career Killer who killed Queen Ismaire and Riev is a fallen priest who worships evil.

Caellach (to Carlyle): I'm not like that freak Valter. I'm kind to women.

And later...
Riev: Ah, Valter... You're a beast. You're bound to no country. You care nothing for friend or foe. Kill a man, claim a woman... You live for nothing more, you wretched beast.
  • Shinji from Fate/stay night. The audience hates him for trying to rape Rin in UBW and raping Sakura too much times in HF.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, the Fiends are Always Chaotic Evil because they're constantly baked out of their skulls. But Cook-Cook, the Flamer-wielding rapist (and yes, those two do go hand-in-hand with him), is the only Fiend everyone in the Mojave hates by name and often will pay you for having killed. Caesar's Legion is also said to rape women, but this is mostly said in passing and takes a back seat to the slaving and mass murder.
  • Mass Effect 2 has this when you discover Jacob's father and what he's been doing to the mentally impaired female crew of their crashed ship for the last decade. The females were Mind Raped first by being forced to eat toxic food which affected their minds, which made the harem Ronald Taylor sets up easier. In a game full of omnicidal robotic entities, criminals, terrorists, murderers, and other assorted scumbags, he comes across as a special sort of disgusting. Indeed, this is the one time in the entire game where Jacob is thoroughly disgusted by what he sees. The neutral option is to let Ronald be torn apart by the zombie resistance he had kicked out and hunted down. None of the other squadmates, good or evil, cares, and Jacob himself states that he's so pathetic he's Not Worth Killing.
  • Rance has an...interesting relationship with this trope. On the one hand, the main character, Rance, is a serial rapist out to have sex with as many women as possible. On the other hand, he thinks he's God's gift to womankind, and doesn't seem to understand that what he's doing is wrong. Every good character is at least slightly distressed at his actions (not that they really do much to stop him), and anyone who agrees with him is treated as scum and killed off sooner or later.

Webcomics Edit

  • In Drowtales, murder, slavery, gladiatorial combat, etc., are commonplace, but when Rikshakar kidnaps and attempts to rape Ariel Val'Sarghress (here), it's Moral Event Horizon crossing time! He had tried this once before and failed due to interference, but this made Ariel realize how truly fucked in the head he was. It also makes more sense that she didn't at first recognize what he was trying to do when you remember that drow have a very open view of sexuality, so the idea of forcing someone into sex would seem odd to them.
    • There's also an interesting variation in the fandom's eyes, mainly how Quain'tana was seen to have crossed the Moral Event Horizon to many with the reveal that she'd ordered her daughter Mel'arnach raped to try and conceive and heir. It had been well established that she was a horribly abusive parent, but to many fans this seemed especially callous and cruel. This is a case where Quain'tana herself (apparently) didn't commit the actual act, but everyone agrees that the onus fell on her for ordering it, resulting in an interesting aversion of Double Standard Rape (Female on Female) (sort of).
  • In Goblins, Dellyn Goblinslayer crossed the Moral Event Horizon long before we found out he raped Kin on a nightly basis. Nevertheless, the trope fits, as Minmax, who himself had just suggested killing Kin not five minutes before, turns on Goblinslayer the moment he learns about the rape.
  • Butch from Chopping Block, a serial killer in a hockey mask, is quite offended when his female victims cry rape as he drags them into the alley, 'cause he's not some kind of sicko pervert (though he might have a go after she's dead, depending on The Rule Of Disturbing and Darkly Funny).
  • Played straight with Stunt from Dominic Deegan. He has, aside from recent Character Development, always been a semi-violent misogynist but still reacts with shock to the implication that he'd be using "Sin City Specials".


Web Originals Edit

  • Since murder is a common element of Survival of the Fittest, frequently being committed by even heroic characters, the truly awful villains are often characterised by rape or torture. Rapists include Adam Reeves, Cody Jenson and Walter Smith, and the act is considered the Moral Event Horizon for each.


Theatre Edit


Western Animation Edit


Notes

  1. "Way I see it, we do whatever we like with [her]"
  2. Bit of a case of Artistic License Biology on the part of the filmmakers, since black widow bites rarely kill adult humans.

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