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Take a good look at your story. Why do you think a rape is what you need for it to progress? Is there something else that could fill the same function? Unless you have a damn good reason to include rape in a story, you probably shouldn't.
—Rachael Edidin, Inside Out
Gratuitous Rape is Exactly What It Says on the Tin — a pointless rape scene usually happening for little to no reason. Did the Big Bad defeat The Hero? Rape. Did a whole bunch of Mooks gang up on The Hero at once? Rape. Does the angsty Lancer have childhood issues? It was because he was raped. Is The Hero going up against a foe that has Mind Manipulation powers? Mind Rape THEN rape. Did The Hero defeat the Big Bad? Rape — Wait, WHAT?!
There are many guesses as to why Gratuitous Rape is used so much. To name a few, rape makes for good drama, it can show a villain as very, very, evil, or it can be used for just plain ol' Fan Service. What some creators forget, however, is that rape is a sensitive subject and therefore rape scenes should be handled with care. When unskilled hands insist on shoehorning rape somewhere into their work, THIS happens. This is a common cliche in Fan Works, but professional works are no stranger to it, either.
A good indicator as to whether or not rape is gratuitous is if:
- The rape scene(s) can be taken out entirely and not affect the plot
- The plot actually makes more sense if the rape scene(s) is replaced by something else (e.g. torture, or just Killing Him Already). This one is usually apparent from the Fridge Logic it causes.
- The rape scene(s) relies on bad writing tropes such as Character Derailment (the Big Bad just forgets his usual modus operandi of killing quickly and efficiently and just rapes everything that has an orifice) or an Idiot Plot (the Mooks stop to rape a wounded hero as they are being shot at by the other heroes).
With all that said, works should not be listed here just for including rape. The reason this trope exists is because the topic is very easy to mishandle, and we at All The Tropes wish to send the message that there are far more tasteful ways of breaking a character than by resorting to this trope.
Anime and Manga
- Rape is a prominent staple of Hentai, but a badly-directed Hentai will shove in a rape scene to meet a titillation quota, regardless of whether it actually fits in with the narrative at large.
- Berserk has been accused of this. Rape happens a lot in the Crapsack World of this series, and many of the major characters (particularly if they're female) have had to deal with at least one attempted—or successful—rape during their lives. It doesn't really help that the nastier villains, particularly many Apostles, are fond of the crime in general.
- Okane ga Nai has Ayase frequently subjected to this.
- Hen has a rape subplot that's so gratuitous it falls into Non Sequitur Scene territory. It comes out of nowhere, has no plot relevance, is never mentioned again, and the victim just blows it off and doesn't seem at all affected by the experience.
- In the Zeorymer manga Masaki could have explained his sinister plan to Miku without raping her, but he rapes her anyway. With an icicle.
- Sanctuary tries to play with Tokai habit of raping random women as Fan Service or Black Comedy Rape, but its always so pointless that makes you dislike the character even if you liked him before.
- Sleez forcing a mind-controlled Big Barda to star in porn movies in Action Comics #593. He almost did it to Superman, too. (How creepy was Sleeze and this story? Sleeze was kicked out of Apokalips by Darkseid for being too creepy.)
- When it was featured on Atop the Fourth Wall, Linkara cited the page quote.
- Infamously, Identity Crisis created the Retcon of Dr. Light raping Sue Dibny in The Watchtower, and worse, we only found out about it after Sue had been murdered and its only purpose was to motivate the heroes into crossing into very questionable territory. And worse, the entire rape plot turns out to be a Red Herring when it comes to the central murder mystery.
- The infamous Power Rangers fanfic Agony in Pink mainly focused on Gorn, but this eventually happened, too.
- In the old version of A Sorceror, a Demon, and Emeralds, a corrupted Sonic the Hedgehog rapes anything that's not nailed down. Including Robotnik.
- The sex scenes in the Naruto fanfic For Your Eyes Only are mostly this or of very dubious consent. To add insult to injury, it's all portrayed as "cute."
- The titular character is (very briefly) raped by orcs in Legolas By Laura (Fanfic). At the end of the story, Legolas reveals that he was raped, too.
- Snap-I mean-Snoop-I mean-Snake-I mean-Snape's wacky attempts to rap-I mean-rape Draco in My Immortal.
- Most of the fics by the infamous So Bad It's Good Gundam Wing author Sephiroth. Her most famous one is about a panther raping Duo and him giving birth to catgirls.
- Pretty much everything by PRED. But one would expect this from a guy who likes to call himself "The World's Biggest Misogynist."
- Some Fan Fics pretty much ARE this trope:
- Naruto Veangance Revelaitons mostly focuses on Coitus Ensues, but sometimes (like when Sakura gets knocked out) this happened.
- Hogwarts Exposed has Gratuitous Rape, Gratuitous Attempted Rape and Gratuitous "I Can't Remember What Happened; What If I Was Raped?" in the course of the first fic.
- In In This World and the Next, Harry and Hermione kill Ron the Death Eater because he raped her. Any number of other things could have (to paraphrase the page quote) filled the same function, and might not have opened the enormous Plot Hole that this did.
- A lot, and we do mean a lot of Hetalia fanfics are all about this trope. The Kink Meme is a goldmine for these, and the basis for a majority of the Ron the Death Eater characterizations the characters are subjected to.
- This Fire Emblem: Three Houses fic has Ingrid captured by bandits while trying to save Dimitri from an ambush, then stripped naked plus Bound and Gagged so Felix can rescue her, which would have worked on its own as a standard Rescue Romance fic. But the bandit leader also fingers her against her will just to show off his depravity AND announces that he plans to also have her gang-raped by his companions before they kill her. This is barely touched on after the rescue, with both Ingrid and Felix more focused on the fact that she could have died.
- A certain GoLion fic has Takashi "Quiet" Shirogane stripped and then forced to fight. And THEN he's gangraped in public for no real reason, other than making his BADLY wimpified boyfriend Akira "Chief" Kogane weep for it. The same angst could have just as easily been achieved by having Takashi repeatedly curb-stomped and badly injured.
- As one might expect, this is a common staple in porn and Exploitation Films
- The alien parasite shoving a drill/tentacle-like appendage up the heroine's vagina in the theatrical version of Meatball Machine. This scene was not in the original independent film.
- In Showgirls, Molly is beaten and raped by her client...just before she was about to have consensual sex with him! One could guess that raping was his kink, but it still came right out of nowhere.
- The infamous "snowman rape scene" from the Slasher Movie Jack Frost 1997. Jack brutally kills everybody else but stops to rape the teenage girl taking a bath. The scene in question was originally meant to have Jack kill the girl by smashing her up against the bathroom wall repeatedly, but given what this generally looked like, the scene was changed into its now-infamous form. It was also a likely dose of Old Shame for Shannon Elizabeth, the actress who played the girl in question.
- The rape scenes in The Hills Have Eyes, though the sequel to the remake tries to justify it by explaining that the mutants' numbers were low, and they needed normal people for breeding purposes.
- The random attempted rape in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan... fortunately, Jason shows up to dispatch the would-be attacker.
- The random Attempted Rape in the Sarah Michelle Gellar film The Return.
- In Evil Dead, the infamous "tree rape" scene was so completely unneeded in the movie, and added so much to its controversy, that director Sam Raimi deeply, deeply regrets including it. In Evil Dead 2, which recreates many of the same situations as the first movie, the evil trees simply kill their victim instead.
- A triple rape occurs in Naked Weapon, with only the weakest of excuses that the perpetrators are teaching the girls an "important" life lesson.
- The Condemned contains a scene where one of the characters is Forced to Watch as his wife gets raped and then murdered. This adds nothing to the plot whatsoever, and is just needless ugliness.
- One especially grotesque example can be found in the third book of Gloria Tesch's Maradonia Saga. Quote: "The false monk Larivier had drugged Krimhilda. He now used his manhood and took advantage of her as darkness fell over Notali, the city of evil." (page 349)
- Frequently seen in the books of Danielle Steel, mostly done in the style of Break the Cutie or Kick the Dog. However, at least one example was a perfect demonstration of the first scenario—the heroine was already grappling with her daughter's near-fatal car accident, her husband's infidelity, and her overbearing mother. So of course, it turns out that she was sexually abused by her father.
- Sidney Sheldon liked to throw this in too.
- Many people think that A Song of Ice and Fire suffers from this. It's definitely part of what makes Westeros such a Crapsack World.
- A fan on Tumblr actually compiled a Game of Thrones itemized rape tally, for both the book and the show. The stats are surprisingly large.
- The Last-Herald Mage trilogy has a lengthy sequence near the finale where the hero is captured and gang-raped by some mooks. It affects the plot not at all.
- Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series contains colossal amounts of rape and Attempted Rape, very little of it necessary to the plot. At one point, one of the female characters is even thrown to a pit full of rapists, where the expected happens.
Live Action TV
- Game of Thrones has a scene where Khal Drogo rapes Danaerys on their wedding night, in a completely different turn from what happened in the book.
- David Morse's saintly doctor on St. Elsewhere was a victim of Gratuitous Gay Rape.
- The Titanic miniseries includes a scene where a third-class girl is raped in the shower by an evil steward.
- Within one calendar year (2005), so many characters on the soap opera Passions were raped that it was known as "The Year of the Rapes". Adding insult to injury, only one of these stories was handled even remotely seriously or realistically (the victim dressed shabbily and could not bear to be touched). All other victims went on with their lives as though nothing had happened.
- Rome has a few. Marc Antony memorably pauses his army's march back to Rome so he could stop and rape a shepherd girl by the side of the road.
- FATAL gives players plenty of opportunities to engage in this, since rape is usually not even considered a felony in this universe.
- A common criticism of Cthulhu Tech is that there's just a teeeeensy bit too much rape in the fluff. At least one of the writers appeared on rpgnet and spent quite some time explaining that there really wasn't that much rape in it given its reputation, but fans will be fans.
- The writers' definition of 'not that much' is rather subjective. Objectively speaking, at least two of the major Mythos cults feature rape as a routine part of their rituals, and one deity pretty much exists only as a giant walking date rape generator, and they appear in at least three supplements.
- Discussed in Something*Positive. Davan sends a rejection letter to the writer of a bad play which reads "A better title for your play would be Rape-Rape: A Tale of Rapening. Also, your next play should have a little less rape in it."
- Obviously a staple of H-Games.
- Often, visual novel creators turn their works into H-Games to increase sales. This tacking on of sex scenes is invariably unnecessary and sometimes takes away from the story.
- Custer's Revenge is one big #3 with Custer attempting to rape a woman while arrows are raining down on him!