Definition of Rape

Rape: Forced sexual intercourse; sexual assault; sexual intercourse between an adult and a minor. Rape may be heterosexual (involving members of opposite sexes) or homosexual (involving members of the same sex). Rape involves insertion of an erect penis or an inanimate object into the female vagina or the male anus. Legal definitions of rape may also include forced oral sex and other sexual acts.

Heterosexual rape usually refers to an assault in which a male forces himself upon a female, and homosexual rape usually refers to an assault in which a male forces himself upon another male. However, both terms (heterosexual and homosexual rape) have been used to refer to an assault in which a female forces herself upon a male or a female.

Sexual intercourse between an adult and a minor is known legally as statutory rape. The adult can be found guilty of statutory rape even if the minor was a willing partner.

Gang rape is a sexual assault in which several persons force themselves upon a victim.

Date rape is a sexual assault in which the victim is psychologically pressured, drugged or sedated before the rape. Date rape is so-named because it often involves a dating couple. The male may spike a female's alcoholic beverage, making her unable to resist his advances or even unable to remember the rape. Would-be date rapists have used sleeping pills to sedate their intended victims. In addition to adding sleep-inducing medications to alcohol, date rapists also have combined them with marijuana, cocaine and other drugs.

Rape can also occur in a marriage. Typically, the husband forces himself on his wife at a time when she is unwilling to have sexual intercourse.

Victims of rape suffer physical and mental trauma. Physical trauma may include cuts, bruises and abrasions in the pelvic area as well as elsewhere on the body. Mental trauma may include overwhelming feelings of humiliation, embarrassment and defilement. Rape victims should seek treatment at a hospital. There, doctors and nurses can treat the injuries, administer antibiotics to prevent sexually- transmitted diseases, and provide counseling or any other additional therapy (mental or physical) that the patient requires. The hospital team's evaluation and report will help document the condition of the patient for legal purposes.

"Rape" is derived from the Latin word "rapere" (to seize).

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