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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).
Note that this trope is NOT complaining about the use of rape in a work, just the unnecessary rape scenes (and we're not always complaining either in the case of parodies). Before posting an example, ask yourself if the scene was at all relevant to the plot, Fridge Logic would be fixed if it was replaced, or if it only exists due to lazy writing. As usual, Your Mileage May Vary.
Contrast Coitus Ensues, a pointless but consensual sex scene.
Anime and Manga
- Generally a common staple in Hentai, particularly of the "tentacle porn" variety.
- 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.
- Like Berserk, Fushigi Yuugi is often accused of this, especially when three of the Seiryuu Celestial Warriors in a row try to rape Miaka. The justification in-story is that the Celestial Maiden needs to be a virgin, and the men are simply trying to cripple Konan and the Suzaku warriors by removing Miaka's ability to summon Suzaku. (Except in Suboshi's case. He just wanted to get revenge for Yui.)
- Okane ga Nai has Ayase frequently subjected to this.
- Hen has a rape subplot that's so gratuitous it falls into Big Lipped Alligator Moment 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's habit of raping random women as Fan Service or Black Comedy Rape, but it's always so pointless that it 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. At the end of the story, Legolas reveals that was he was, 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.
- Some Fire Emblem fics have a tendency towards this, turning villains into rapists solely because the author finds it more "realistic." It's always the Action Girls who get it, (Lyndis, Farina, Female!Robin, Lucina, Camilla, Female!Corrin) or the pretty boys (Soren, Male!Robin, Male!Corrin, Takumi, Forrest, Dimitri).
- This 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, when the scene could have been removed entirely. Ingrid doesn't even seem to panic as much over having been raped and then threatened with even more rape as she does over the fact that they were going to kill her, and that's all Felix pays attention to as well.
- It's becoming increasingly common for fans to shove rape and molestation into Ashe's backstory, which is already traumatic enough with the loss of his parents, having to steal to provide for his little siblings, and then later losing his adoptive family who genuinely loved and cared for him. Naturally, it's Lonato and Christophe who are made into his rapists.
- A few Voltron: Legendary Defender fics are guilty of this with two specific characters: Pidge, because she's not only the youngest and smallest Paladin but also female, and Keith solely for the angst factor so his love interest can rescue and comfort him.
- Oddly enough, this is averted with Shiro. At worst, fics where he's raped on top of being taken prisoner and forced to fight in the arena are Deus Angst Machina, but some authors at least manage to have it make sense and contribute something to the story. However, fanart where Shiro gets randomly raped (often by Sendak, often by Naughty Tentacles, sometimes during his times as a Galra prisoner and experiment subject) are VERY common...
- Many Omegaverse fics with Omega Keith feature this as well, a good number of them with whoever the author pleases (everyone from Shiro to Zarkon) raping and impregnating Keith just for the sake of drama.
- This GoLion fic has Takashi "Quiet" Shirogane dragged into the arena naked, where he's forced to fight and then gang raped in front of cheering crowds. His (badly wimpified) Love Interest Akira "Chief" Kogane weeps for his plight upon finding him, but poor gentle Takashi says he did it "to protect him." The scene serves no purpose other than pure romantic Wangst, and could have easily been replaced by one with Takashi being soundly defeated.
- The Pokémon fandom saw a spike in this with the release of Black and White, with Ghetsis committing wanton and random acts of rape on top of being a manipulative bastard with possibly murderous intent. N and Hilda were his most popular targets: when he wasn't raping N throughout his entire childhood and adolescence, he was raping Hilda to get to N or forcing N to rape Hilda for his viewing pleasure.
- One author who wrote for the aforementioned Pokémon fandom, plus Naruto and Yu-Gi-Oh, specialized in this trope, turning all antagonists and even some heroic characters like Grimsley into evil stalkers who raped defenseless female characters for the sake of drama and angst.
- As one might expect, this is a common staple in porn and Exploitation Films
- The alien parasite showing 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.
- With 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 the mutant numbers are 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 has said he 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.
- 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.
- Catherine Anderson's Comanche series borders on this, with female characters being raped or sexually assaulted or almost raped left and right. Possibly justified given the time period they're set in, but it's still a flimsy excuse.
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 (where the sex was consensual).
- 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. (Mark Antony being... well, Mark Antony, this was probably Truth in Television.)
- FATAL gives players plenty of opportunities to engage in this, since rape is usually not even considered a crime in its 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.
- 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!