rape


rape
rape1
rapable, rapeable, adj.rapist, raper, n.
/rayp/, n., v., raped, raping.
n.
1. the unlawful compelling of a woman through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.
2. any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.
4. an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation: the rape of the countryside.
5. Archaic. the act of seizing and carrying off by force.
v.t.
6. to force to have sexual intercourse.
7. to plunder (a place); despoil.
8. to seize, take, or carry off by force.
v.i.
9. to commit rape.
[1250-1300; (v.) ME rapen < AF raper < L rapere to seize, carry off by force, plunder; (n.) ME < AF ra(a)p(e), deriv. of raper]
rape2
/rayp/, n.
a plant, Brassica napus, of the mustard family, whose leaves are used for food for hogs, sheep, etc., and whose seeds yield rape oil.
[1350-1400; ME ( < MF) < L rapum (neut.), rapa (fem.) turnip; c. Gk rhápys]
rape3
/rayp/, n.
the residue of grapes, after the juice has been extracted, used as a filter in making vinegar.
[1590-1600; < F râpe < Gmc; cf. OHG raspon to scrape]

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I
Annual plant (Brassica napus) of the mustard family, native to Europe.

This 1-ft-tall (30-cm) plant has a long, thin taproot; smooth, bluish-green, deeply scalloped leaves; and clusters of yellow flowers. Each round, elongated seedpod has a short beak and contains many seeds. The seeds yield an oil (rapeseed oil, or canola) that is the lowest in saturated fat of any edible oil, making it popular for use in cooking. It is also used as an ingredient in soap and margarine and as a lamp fuel.

Rape (Brassica napus)

Ingmar Holmasen
II
Unlawful sexual activity, usually sexual intercourse, carried out forcibly or under threat of injury and against the will of the victim.

Though traditionally limited to attacks on women by men, the definition of rape has been broadened to cover same-sex attacks and attacks against those who, because of mental illness, intoxication, or other reasons, are incapable of valid consent. Statutory rape, or intercourse with a person younger than a certain age (generally from 12 to 18 years), has long been a serious crime in most jurisdictions. Rape is widely considered an expression of anger or aggression and a pathological assertion of power by the rapist. The psychological responses of victims vary but usually include feelings of shame, humiliation, confusion, fear, and rage. Many rape victims fail to report the crime, deterred by the prospect of a distressing cross-examination in court and the difficulty of proving a crime for which there usually are no witnesses. In the late 20th century there was a notable increase in the use of rape as a weapon of war, and in the 1990s the tribunal investigating crimes stemming from genocide in Rwanda ruled that rape and sexual violence constituted a form of genocide. See also assault and battery.

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crime
Introduction

      act of sexual intercourse with an individual without his or her consent, through force or the threat of force. In many jurisdictions, the crime of rape has been subsumed under that of sexual assault, which also encompasses acts that fall short of intercourse. Rape was long considered to be caused by unbridled sexual desire, but it is now understood as a pathological assertion of power over a victim.

Scope, effects, and motivations
      The legal definition of rape has changed substantially since the late 20th century. The traditional definition was narrow with respect to both gender and age; rape was an act of sexual intercourse by a man with a woman against her will. As rape is now understood, a rapist or a victim may be an adult of either gender or a child. Although rape can occur in same-sex (homosexuality) intercourse, it is most often committed by a male against a female. There is also an increasing tendency to treat as rape an act of sexual intercourse by a husband with his wife against her will and to consider forced prostitution and sexual slavery as forms of rape.

      Rape is often explained or excused as a manifestation of racial, ethnic, and class hatred or as stemming from a patriarchal system in which women are viewed as the property of men. Whatever its origins, rape is a serious crime and is treated as a felony (felony and misdemeanour) in most countries with common-law (common law) systems. In many rape trials, the guilt or innocence of the accused hinges on whether or not the victim consented to sexual intercourse. The determination of consent often can lead to distressing cross-examinations of rape victims in court. As a result, many rape victims choose not to report the crime to police or refuse to press charges against their assailants. According to a study conducted in the United States in the 1990s, for example, fewer than one-third of rapes in the country are reported to police, and about half of all rape victims do not discuss the incident with anyone. Even when brought to trial, those charged with rape have a higher-than-average rate of acquittal, mainly because it is difficult to prove a crime for which there are usually no third-party witnesses and because the testimony of women often may be given less credence than that of men. Rape is thus both underreported and underprosecuted. To protect women from humiliating cross-examination, many jurisdictions have adopted rape shield laws, which limit the ability of the defendant's counsel to introduce the accuser's sexual history as evidence.

      The psychological motivations of rapists are more complex than was formerly thought. They may include the desire to punish, to gain revenge, to cause pain, to prove sexual prowess, and to control through fear. The psychological reactions of victims of rape also vary but usually include feelings of shame, humiliation, confusion, fear, and rage. Victims often report a feeling of perpetual defilement, an inability to feel clean, an overwhelming sense of vulnerability, and a paralyzing feeling of lack of control over their lives. Many are haunted by fear of the place in which the crime occurred, or of being followed, or of all sexual relationships. Others experience long-term disruption of sleep or eating patterns or an inability to function at work. The duration of the psychological trauma varies from individual to individual; many feel the effects for years, even with considerable supportive therapy. In view of the great psychological harm it causes, many psychologists regard rape as a form of torture—a permanent mutilation of an individual's life. In addition to these psychological effects, in some societies victims of rape face the danger of ostracism or even death at the hands of relatives seeking to preserve their family's honour (victims of abduction without rape may be treated in the same way).

Statutory rape
      The age at which an individual may give effective consent to sexual intercourse is commonly set in most countries at between 14 and 18 years (though it is as low as 12 years in some countries). Sexual intercourse with a person below the age of consent is termed statutory rape, and consent is no longer relevant. The term statutory rape specifically refers to the legal proscription against having sexual intercourse with a child or any other person presumed to lack comprehension of the physical and other consequences of the act. The term statutory rape may also refer to any kind of sexual assault committed against a person above the age of consent by an individual in a position of authority (e.g., employers, teachers, clergy, doctors, and parents). Statutory rape often leaves the victim with long-term psychological and physical damage, including sexually transmitted diseases and the inability to bear children.

      For example, statutory rape was particularly prevalent in South Africa in the period following the abolition of apartheid, when it was estimated that some two-fifths of South African rape victims were under age 18. Many rapes in the country were committed in the mistaken belief that sexual intercourse with a virgin (including an infant) would cure the rapist of HIV/ AIDS. According to Interpol, in the early 21st century there were more rapes per capita in South Africa than in any other country.

Rape as a weapon of war
      The rape of women by soldiers during wartime has occurred throughout history. Indeed, rape was long considered an unfortunate but inevitable accompaniment of war—the result of the prolonged sexual deprivation of troops and insufficient military discipline. Its use as a weapon of war was gruesomely demonstrated during World War II, when both Allied and Axis armies committed rape as a means of terrorizing enemy civilian populations and demoralizing enemy troops. Two of the worst examples were the sexual enslavement of women in territories conquered by the Japanese army and the mass rape committed against German women by advancing Russian soldiers.

      In the second half of the 20th century, cases of rape were documented in more than 20 military and paramilitary conflicts. In the 1990s, rape was used as an instrument of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia and as a means of genocide in Rwanda. In the former case, women belonging to subjugated ethnic groups were intentionally impregnated through rape by enemy soldiers; in the latter case, women belonging to the Tutsi ethnic group were systematically raped by HIV-infected men recruited and organized by the Hutu-led government.

      In the late 20th century, in part because of the prevalence of rape in the Balkan and Rwandan conflicts, the international community began to recognize rape as a weapon and strategy of war, and efforts were made to prosecute such acts under existing international law. The primary statute, Article 27 of the Geneva Convention (Geneva Conventions) Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (1949), already included language protecting women “against any attack on their honour, in particular against rape, enforced prostitution, or any form of indecent assault”; this protection was extended in an additional protocol adopted in 1977.

      In 1993 the United Nations (UN) Commission on Human Rights (replaced in 2006 by the UN Human Rights Council) declared systematic rape and military sexual slavery to be crimes against humanity punishable as violations of women's human rights. In 1995 the UN's Fourth World Conference on Women specified that rape by armed groups during wartime is a war crime. The jurisdiction of the international tribunals established to prosecute crimes committed in the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda both included rape, making these tribunals among the first international bodies to prosecute sexual violence as a war crime. In a landmark case in 1998, the Rwandan tribunal ruled that “rape and sexual violence constitute genocide.” The International Criminal Court, established in 1998, subsequently was granted jurisdiction over a range of women's issues, including rape and forced pregnancy. In a resolution adopted in 2008 the UN Security Council (Security Council, United Nations) affirmed that “rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide.”

Anne L. Barstow

Additional Reading
Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape (1975, reissued 1993), is a groundbreaking study arguing that men use rape as a means of controlling women. Anne Llewellyn Barstow (ed.), War's Dirty Secret: Rape, Prostitution, and Other Crimes Against Women (2000), examines the use of rape as a weapon of war. Emilie Buchwald, Pamela R. Fletcher, and Martha Roth (eds.), Transforming a Rape Culture, rev. ed. (2004), is a series of essays based on the view that American society encourages rape. Women's Rights Project (Human Rights Watch), Human Rights Watch Global Report on Women's Rights (1995, reissued 2000), is a useful compendium with statistics and a bibliography.

plant
also called  colza 
 (species Brassica napus), plant of the mustard family (Brassicaceae), native to Europe. Rape is an annual, 30 cm (1 foot) or more tall, with a long, usually thin taproot. Its leaves are smooth, bluish green, and deeply scalloped, and the bases of the upper leaves clasp the stem. Rape bears four-petaled, yellow flowers in spikes. Each round, elongated pod has a short beak and contains many seeds. These seeds, known as rapeseeds, yield an oil—rapeseed oil, or canola—that is variously treated for use in cooking, as an ingredient in soap and margarine, and as a lamp fuel (colza oil). The use of the oil in cooking (frying and baking) increased in the late 20th century because it is the lowest in saturated fat of any edible oil. The esterified form of rapeseed oil is used as a lubricant for jet engines. The seeds are used as bird feed, and the seed residue after oil extraction is used for fodder.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms: