• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Work with all your cloud files (Drive, Dropbox, and Slack and Gmail attachments) and documents (Google Docs, Sheets, and Notion) in one place. Try Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) for free. Now available on the web, Mac, Windows, and as a Chrome extension!



Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 9 months ago

History of rape


Ancient History


The concept of rape, both as an abduction and in the sexual sense, makes its first appearance in early religious texts.


In Greek mythology, for example, the rape of women, as exemplified by the rape of Europa, and male rape, found in the myth of Laius and Chrysippus, were mentioned. Different values were ascribed to the two actions. The rape of Europa by Zeus is represented as an abduction followed by consensual lovemaking, similar perhaps to the rape of Ganymede by Zeus, and went unpunished.

The rape of Chrysippus by Laius, however, is represented in darker terms, and was known in Classical antiquity as "the crime of Laius", a term which came to be applied to all male rape. It was seen as an example of hubris in the original sense of the word, i.e. violent outrage, and its punishment was so severe that it destroyed not only Laius himself, but also his son, Oedipus.


In antiquity and until the late Middle Ages, rape was seen in most cultures less as a crime against a particular girl or woman than against the male figure she "belonged" to. Thus, the penalty for rape was often a fine, payable to the father or the husband whose "goods" were "damaged". That position was later replaced in many cultures by the view that the woman, as well as her lord, should share the fine equally.


In some laws the woman might be married to the rapist instead of his receiving the legal penalty. This was especially prevalent in laws where the crime of rape did not include, as a necessary part, that it be against the woman's will, thus dividing the crime in the current meaning of rape, and a means for a man and woman to force their families to permit marriage.


Pagan Rome


In pagan Rome, it was expected that an honorable woman, being raped, would like Lucretia remove the stain on her honor by committing suicide. The failure of Christian women, having been raped in the sack of Rome, to kill themselves was commented on by pagans with shock and horror; St. Augustine dedicated an entire book of The City of God to defending these women's honor and chastity. Early Christianity also maintained, as paganism did not, that slave women were entitled to chastity, and that therefore a slave woman could be raped, and honored as martyrs slave women who resisted their masters.


In Roman law, the crime of rape was not defined by the lack of consent of the woman, but by her removal from her family; the change was described by William Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England:


The civil law of Rome punishes the crime of ravishment with death and confiscation of goods: under which it includes both the offence of forcible abduction, or taking away a woman from her friends, of which we last spoke; and also the present offence of forcibly dishonoring them; either of which, without the other, is in that law, sufficient to constitute a capital crime. Also the stealing away a woman from her parents or guardians, and debauching her, is equally penal by the emperor's edict, whether she consent or is forced: “five volentibus, five nolentibus mulieribus, tale facinus fuerit perpetratum.” And this, in order to take away from women every opportunity of offending in this way; whom the Roman laws suppose never to go astray, without the seduction and arts of the other sex: and therefore, by restraining and making so highly penal the solicitations of the men, they meant to secure effectually the honor of the women...


But our English law does not entertain quite such sublime ideas of the honor of either sex, as to lay the blame of a mutual fault upon one of the transgressors only: and therefore makes it a necessary ingredient in the crime of rape, that it must be against the woman's will.



Rape, in the course of warfare, also dates back to antiquity, ancient enough to have been mentioned in the Bible.




The Ancient Greece, Persian Empire and Ancient Roman troops would routinely rape women and boys in the conquered towns.


Rape, as an adjunct to warfare, was prohibited by the military codices of Richard II of England and Henry V of England (1385 and 1419 respectively). These laws formed the basis for convicting and executing rapists during the Hundred Years' War).


Modern History


The modern criminal justice system is widely known for being unfair to sexual assault victims. (Macdonalds, 2001) Both sexist stereotypes and common law combined to make rape a "criminal proceeding on which the victim and her behavior were tried rather than the defendant". (Howard & Francis, 2000) Most of modern rape law traces back to Brittish Lord Sir Matthew Hale in 1736. In his Historia Placitorum Coronae (History of the Pleas of the Crown) he set forth common-law rape doctrines which were noted for being misogynist. (Geis, 2007)


Since the 1970's many changes have occurred in the perception of sexual assault due in large part to the feminist movement and its public characterization of rape as a crime of power and control rather than purely of sex. In some countries the women's liberation movement of the 1970's created the first rape crisis centers. This movement was led by the National Organization for Women (NOW) ([http://www.now.org/]). One of the first two rape crisis centers, the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, opened in 1972. It was created to promote sensitivity and understanding of rape and its effects on the victim. In 1960 law enforcement cited false reporting rates at 20%. By 1973 the statistics had dropped to 15%. After 1973 the New York city police department used female officers to investigate sexual assault cases and the rate dropped to 2% according to the FBI. (DiCanio, 1993).



Marital rape first became a crime in the United States in the state of South Dakota in 1975. The first case was tried in Salem, Oreg., in late 1978. Marital rape is not a crime at common law. In the 1980s, date or acquaintance rape first gained acknowledgment. On July 5, 1993, marital rape became a crime in all 50 states, under at least one section of the sexual offense codes. An important part of the history of rape is the foundation of RAINN in 1994 by Tori Amos and Scott Berkowitz. RAINN is central to the modern history of the rape crisis movement as it founded the national sexual assault hotline and provides statistics and information to the media.


On September 2, 1998 the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda made sexual violence a war crime. Current topics being debated are the peripheralized victims of rape male rape victims of both male and female rapists, female-female rape and parental-rape Incest victims, LGBT domestic violence and rape victims, marital rape victims and child sexual abuse victims. Other emerging issues are the concept of victim blame and its causes, male rape survivors, male-male rape, female sexual aggression, new theories of rape and gender, date rape drugs and their effects as well as the psychological effects of rape trauma syndrome.




History of the rape crisis movement


Dejanikus, T. (1981). Rape Crisis Centers: Ten Years After. Off Our Backs, Washington: 14 (8) p. 17.


DiCanio, M. (1993). The encyclopedia of violence : origins, attitudes, consequences. New York : Facts on File


Geis, G. (2007). Rape. Encyclopedia Americana. Retrieved May 3, 2007, from Grolier Online http://ea.grolier.com/cgi-bin/article?assetid=0328610-00


Howard, A. & Kavenik Francis (2000). Handbook of American Women's History. CA: Sage Publications Inc.


Largen, M. (1981). "Grassroots Centers and National Task Forces: A History of the Anti-Rape Movement," Aegis: A Magazine on Ending Violence Against Women, Autumn.


Macdonalds, John (2001). World Book Encyclopedia. United States of America: World Book Inc.


Pride, A. (1981) To respectability and back: A ten year view of the anti-rape movement. Fight Back! (pp. 114-118).





Return to the table of contents/home.



This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "rape".



Disclaimer: The author is not responsible for any contents linked or referred to from his or her pages - unless s/he has full knowledge of illegal contents and would be able to prevent the visitors of his site from viewing those pages. If any damage occurs by the use of information presented there, only the author of the respective pages might be liable, not the one who has linked to these pages. Furthermore the author is not liable for any postings or messages published by users of discussion boards, guestbooks or mailing lists provided on his or her page. The author is not a psychiatrist or physician / medical doctor or legal attorney of any sort. This website is not intended to replace medical, psychiatric or legal care. Please seek professional attention as needed. The information provided is not intended to replace obtaining medical evaluations and health care advice from qualified health care providers. This site's owners are providing information for reference only, and do not intend said Information to be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions, or for any other purposes. The owner/author of this site MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF SAID INFORMATION, OR THE FITNESS OF THE INFORMATION TO BE USED FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, AND SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, LOSS, EXPENSE, OR DAMAGE OF ANY KIND TO USER, OR TO ANY THIRD PARTY, RELATED TO THE USE OF SAID INFORMATION. Persons accessing any information of this web site, directly or indirectly, assume full responsibility for the use of the Information and understand and agree that the author of rape crisis information is not responsible or liable for any claim, loss, or damage arising from the use of said information.

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.