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A popular way to establish a character as having a motivation for their depression, angst, distrust of others, and other anti-social tendencies is to have the revelation that they were raped at some point in their past. About 95% of the characters given this treatment are female, but there are still cases of male characters (although even that is predominantly by other men).

It is extremely common in bad fanfiction. What better justification could your Sympathetic Sue have for her boundless angst than having been raped in her past? If given almost no weight to the story, then it's been handled very badly.

That said, there is some Truth in Television to this trope, considering that rape is an extremely traumatic event and can cause serious mental illness and psychological repercussions. The fact that some writers use it to cheap effect for drama is not thought of highly.

No Real Life Examples, Please

Examples of Rape as Backstory include:


Anime and Manga

  • Though it's only a part of his backstory as a Child Soldier, Guts of Berserk had to deal with rape as a kid at the hands of one of the soldiers of his adoptive father's band, which among other things informs his reluctance to be touched by others.
    • In Berserk Abridged Casca tells Guts about the time she met Griffith, who saved her from being raped by a nobleman. Guts, in response tells her that his backstory is a bit different. Word of God is that he intentionally didn't play any of the sexual abuse for laughs, though this scene does contain a level of Black Comedy regardless.

 Guts: "And do you know who showed up just in the nick of time, and gave me a sword and a blanket, and taught me to believe in myself?"

Casca: "Was it Jesus?"

Guts: NOBODY!

    • Guts' love interest Casca also serves as an example. In her case, she has angst because she was almost raped. And then it happened for real during the Eclipse -- at the hands of her original savior, no less -- and it broke her for a LONG time.
  • Legato Bluesummers from the Trigun manga was shown to have been raped by the mayor of the town he was living in, and he seems to have been being kept as a Sex Slave his whole life. Nobody even bothered to name him. He'd just been found out in his ongoing plan to kill the entire town with his mind control powers, and therefore the Hideous Mayor was apparently raping him to death this time when Knives saved him. Accidentally, but still. Knives saved him. It definitely didn't help his view that all humans (including himself) are disgusting and must be exterminated. It's not certain if this is also the case in the anime, where he's still nuts, but it's not clear if he was raped.
  • In Hellsing, Alucard, aka Vlad Tepes Dracul of Wallachia was sexually abused as a child during his time spent as a political hostage for his father under the Ottoman Empire by the sultan.
    • Also, in the backstory of Seras, she actually witnessed a rape and was horribly screwed up by that. More exactly, as a little girl she saw her mother being killed and raped. Yup, in that order.
  • Genkaku from Deadman Wonderland was revealed to have been beaten and raped by a group of bullies who hung around the temple. It was definitely a contributing factor for making him Ax Crazy.
  • Kira of Mars was raped by her stepfather during or shortly before middle school. She became averse to male touch and shy to the point of muteness. When her mother asked the stepfather back into their home, Kira did not react well.
  • The manga Asa mo, hiru mo, yoru mo does this with the heroines backstory, with the main pllot being that a guy she has to work with for school looks like her rapist. IT'S PLAYED FOR LAUGHS.
  • In a male example, the manga/anime Yami no Matsuei has the reveal of Dr. Muraki having impulsively raped thirteen-year-old Hisoka, then cursed him so that he slowly and painfully died over the course of three years as major character development for both of them. Made particularly painful by Hisoka being an empath who can feel other people's emotions especially strongly through physical contact, to the extent that Tsuzuki grabbing him when he's upset causes Hisoka to scream, making it a sort of Mind Rape too.
    • Extra points for 1) the heavy implication later on that Muraki's mother molested him and 2) the possibly-accidental revelation that twelve-year-old Muraki Kazutaka looked frighteningly identical to little Hisoka. So...yeah, he was working out his own backstory issues there, too.
    • After the Queen Camelia arc, in which Hisoka was actually both competent and effective, (though the trauma of having to kill the girl he liked seems to have messed him up some more, based on how he freezes the next time he has to face his nemesis), he meditates on his fear of becoming Muraki if he isn't careful, of 'losing to the Muraki in him.' There seems to be some tenuous connection to the rape here, at least in many readers' minds. The fact that Muraki started as the Foil to Tsuzuki, but flexibly fills this role for Hisoka in a different way and even Tatsumi in another over the course of the story, never loses and frequently wins, makes him a very depressing villain.
  • Bitter Virgin's main plot revolves around this: the titular Bitter Virgin was raped repeatedly by her stepfather. Her mother kicked him out (by chasing him out with a kitchen knife) after Hinako got pregnant for the second time.
  • Altena from Noir. A flashback shows her as a pre-teen girl, walking aimlessly with her doll in the middle of a battle zone. Then a soldier grabs her, and the doll falls to the ground...
  • Gravitation has Yuki, although the main trauma was the self-defense.
    • In Chapter 13, Shuichi was raped by two thugs hired by Taki Aizawa of ASK, as a way to get back to his boyfriend Yuki. Yuki's brother-in-law Touma Seguchi, who is Yandere for Yuki and thinks Taki is a threat to his company... makes very, VERY sure that Taki pays for it.
  • Oyuki of Lady Snowblood wasn't raped in her backstory, but her primary motivation is revenge for her mother, whose family was murdered by four men who then proceeded to rape her. The mother took vengeance upon the first of the men, but got thrown in prison before she could take out the rest, and had to charge the daughter she had in prison with the task of killing the rest.
  • 14-year-old Rena Sendou in GetBackers was raped by both a teacher and her stepfather, although as soon as Himiko defeats her, it loses its seriousness, as Ban runs right up and rips the bodice of her dress to show Himiko her curse scar. After her Heel Face Turn, she goes straight to Good Is Dumb and Out of Focus, and it's never mentioned again.
  • Tsubaki Kasugano aka the 6th Diary Holder from Mirai Nikki. Blame the Religion of Evil that kept her imprisoned as their sex toy.
    • She also tries to use rape to get at Yukki and Yuno, ordering her followers to strip and gang-rape the latter (then their prisoner) to try lure the first out. It works... just not as she expected it to, as Yukki manages to destroy her Diary.
    • Ai, one half of the Seventh pair was set up to be raped by her jealous classmates, and Marco, the other half of Seventh never forgave himself for being too late to save her from the boys that gangraped her..
  • Satellizer from Freezing was molested by her half-brother.
  • Extreme, the fourth manga series of Bondage Fairies, reveals that eternally-horny heroine Pamila was molested - and beaten - as a child.
  • Chizuru "Chizu" Honda from Bokurano, particularly in the manga. Long story short, Hatagai is a bastard.
  • While it is not clear that it was entirely non-consensual, Sawa from Kite as a young teen was at the very least the victim of statutory rape by her guardian Akai as part of his plan to brainwash her into being his personal assassin. Given her treatment at the beginning of the OVA, as well as his inclination against ever taking "no" for an answer, one can assume that he raped her more than that throughout her life.
  • Nakago, the Big Bad from Fushigi Yuugi was taken to the palace of Kutou when he was 11 years old (and then known as Ayuru) because he was one of the long sought-after Seiryuu warriors. The Emperor looked at him, and says, "He's pretty. Like a girl.". Then proceeds to instruct his servants to bathe Ayuru and bring him to the emperor's chambers. The next scene is Ayuru lying on a bed, naked, on the verge of tears...
    • Also Soi, who was a child prostitute subjected to years of sexual abuse until Nakago rescued her.
    • It's believed that Tomo suffered this as well, as an abandoned child growing up in a very sexualized Chinese opera troupe. The Seiran-Den novel more or less confirms it, with Tomo outright telling Nakago that he knows what Nakago himself has been through, and that they have that in common.
    • In Fushigi Yuugi Byakko Ibun, Reipin/Neiran all but tells her Only Friend Nirusha that she was sexually abused by her cruel half-brother. The same one who was transformed into a tiger and killed by Nirusha himself.
  • Alois, from Black Butler, the second season. It's confirmed in episode 8 that he one of several young boys picked up as Sex Slaves to the the elderly Earl. In addition, he had to pose as the Earl's son too, which adds an uncomfortable Parental Incest aspect to the whole thing even though they were not actually related.
    • The most "plot-important" use of the trope in the story involves both Ciels Phantomhive (the protagonist and his older twin brother) being gangraped by the members of the cult that killed their parents, with the intention of "shaping" them as perfect Human Sacrifices. This had been VERY heavily implied all through the story, but only was confirmed much later
  • In Kaze to Ki no Uta, Gilbert, Rosemariné, and Auguste all have this to varying degrees.
  • In Wolf Guy Wolfen Crest, Aoshika-sensei was sexually assaulted when she was a highschool student, and later is violently gangraped by Big Bad Haguro and his Yakuza goons.
  • In Ikki Tousen, Ten'i (Dian Wei) was repeatedly raped by her father first. After she killed him and was acquitted of said murder, she was raped again - this time, by the Alpha Bitch of her school and her Girl Posse.
  • Apparently in Zeta Gundam Reccoa was raped at some point, though we only learn this in the second to last episode.
    • As well as Gundam Unicorn Marida, who views this as just another order. A cruel but unsual order. But an order she doesn't object to given the fact she was conditioned to be a tool.
    • In Iron Blooded Orphans, a good part of the Char Clone McGillis's Dark and Troubled Past involves him having been a child prostitute and then molested by his adoptive father.. It's also averted in the case of Mikazuki's Love Interest Atra: she worked as a cleaner in a brothel and was physically abused there, but she was neither molested nor prostituted by the owners.
  • The Black Lagoon OVA shows that Revy was raped by a policeman as a teenager (among other really crappy stuff that her early years entailed). Apparently, it was this event that finally made her snap and start fighting for herself -- by killing everyone in the way.
  • In Tsukigasa, Azuma being raped by his uncle provides explanation both for why he Hates Being Touched, and why he freaks out as badly as he does when Kuroe makes advances on him.
  • It's far from his entire backstory, but Soubi from Loveless was raped by his former teacher.
    • Mikado, by Nisei, while Seimei watched. Although she was more traumatized that he didn't give her a reason for it than by the rape itself.

Comic Books

  • This seems to be the backstory of Hawkeye of the Young Avengers. She was assaulted and strongly hinted to have been sexually molested while walking home one night. She decided to deal with the trauma by taking up a bow and arrow and fencing, dressing up in purple, and beating up aliens and criminals. Her therapist approves.
  • The Black Cat had rape retconned into her backstory, making her similar to the Young Hawkeye version, and removing her freewheeling adventuress origin in favor of a rape victim who turned burglar as a displaced reaction to her attack. To say that the fans were... displeased was, well, an Understatement.
  • Alex, the female COG soldier from the Gears of War comic.
  • Damian Wayne has been retconned into being the result of Talia drugging and raping Bruce Wayne. In the original story the encounter was consensual.
    • Tim Drake (Robin III) has had two of his girlfriends in this situation (Stephanie was an almost-rape case, but Ariana was straight rape). Apparently it left a traumatic impact on both of them -- with Ariana, she tried to have sex with Tim (even though they were too young for it) because she wanted to get rid of her unpleasant past with a new experience; and with Stephanie it made her vunerable and constantly seeking for approval from men, which even caused her to get pregnant once. It's no wonder Tim's a Celibate Hero.
  • Red Sonja became the Badass warrior she did partly out of a reaction to being raped when she was a girl.
  • Janissa, Conan's occasional enemy and ally, was raped by Demons every night until she could fight them off as part of her training to become a master swordswoman in Dark Horse's Conan Comic Book. Needless to say, people wrote in pissed that the writers were lazy enough to resort to this and her every other appearance in the series inevitably led to the authors apologising, printing the letters of angry readers and promoting rape help-lines.
  • Bleez of the Red Lanterns was ganged raped by Sinestro Corps members in a creepy Rape Is Love kind of way, at least it goes with the current theme that all Red Lanterns are victims.
  • Lady Bullseye from Daredevil was kidnapped and repeatedly raped by the Yakuza, before being accidentally freed by Bullseye, which inspired her to become an assassin like him.
  • Uncanny X-Men #434 lists this as the reason for the villainess' "Take Over the World" plan, on the last page. Linkara comments on the poor construction of the story here: [1]
  • As revealed in New Mutants #1, Thai pirates attacked Karma's family on her way from Vietnam to the United States, raped her and her mother, and killed her father. Her mother died soon afterwards.
  • Whiteout. The US Marshal protagonist is Reassigned to Antarctica after she kills a prisoner who tried to rape her. This event and the death of her husband is shown as the reason for her emotional distance.
  • Gamora (seen in in Warlock and the Infinity Watch, among others) was raised and trained by death-worshipper Thanos of Titan after she was orphaned. When she runs away while they're on a trip, she's beaten and raped by a group of thugs, which provides the impetus for Thanos to rebuild her stronger and more powerful than she was before.
  • Parodied by Garth Ennis in The Boys when Vouight-American attempt to revamp Starlight's back story. This may be a direct parody of the Black Cat story mentioned above.
  • Averted in Josh Lesnick's Wendy: The comic ended before Josh could introduce this trope and further send his series into full-blown Cerebus Syndrome, and only revealed his original ideas for the ending after he finally went back and tied up all the loose ends years later.
  • Ultimate Comics Avengers pulled this one out as for the backstory of the second Wasp. Promising scientist, married to an activist, has a baby. Great life, right? Then the Red Skull shows up, because he's working for the side the husband is protesting against. The scientist, forced to choose between her husband and child, kills her husband, only for the Skull to toss her baby out a third story window, then allow his men to gangrape her. She ended up going into bioterrorism, before being caught by the US government, brain-chipped to make her comply with orders, and put on Fury's new black ops team.
  • Copperhead of Teen Titans spinoff Terror Titans is a rare male recipient of this, being molested and forced into prostitution as a boy. Naturally, as a teenager his ability to form personal attachments is extremely stunted.
    • Actually it was never stated if he was actually raped. His sociopathy had already started when he let his baby brother drown. Chances are he did prostitute himself out, but killed his clients and stole their money the first chance he got.

Fan Fic

  • In a "Wicked Lovely" fanfic, this is implied for Ren. Here it is
  • In "The Other Side Of The Curtain", a LOTR real-people fic, the Mary Sue confesses to her true love Orlando Bloom that she was raped by her brother. This plot element serves no purpose than to give her a reason not to invite her family to their wedding.
  • Though Rape as Backstory is closely associated with badfic, To the Moon is actually a really good fic, in which Draco has been molested by his father basically his whole life.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic Prison Island Break, Shadow the Hedgehog was sexually abused at various points in his life. The reason it is not discussed in depth is because, quite simply, he doesn't want to talk about it.
  • In the back-story of Origins, the second story of the Streets of Rage Saga, Blaze Fielding had this happen to her multiple times from as early as 12 years old, by a doctor assigned to her case while she was wrongly imprisoned at an insane asylum owned and operated by The Syndicate.
  • Tropes Are Not Bad: In the Death Note fic A Cure for Love this is V's Backstory. At first she is set up as The Ace and sounds like a typical Mary Sue however she's actually the new Big Bad and her Backstory establishes both her otherwise improbable relations to other characters and why she's so unstable. Not only did this horrible thing happen to her but the people who were supposed to be "safe" took her son away from her.
  • legolas by laura: the ten-year-old heroine Laura is kidnapped by Sauron "because she got a power and she can distoy us all the bad guys" and raped by orcs, and seems surprisingly calm about this. Legolas comes to rescue her and casually mentions that "when I was your age they did the same thing to me", never mentioning why they did this or how he escaped, and it's never brought up again.
  • In Scars and Stitches, a Soul Eater fanfiction, this is primarily used for Soul and why he left his home in the first place.

Film

  • In Dr. No, Honey Ryder tells James Bond that after her father was made to disappear by Dr. No, their landlord let her stay on for a while without paying. Then one night he raped her. She avenged herself by putting a female black widow spider in his bed, which fatally bit him.
  • Carin, the Straw Feminist of Patch Adams was molested as a child, hence why she distrusts men. Once she learns to trust them again, she lets herself too close to a crazed patient who murders her. Being a biography film, this would typically go into Real Life except that Carin never existed and was actually created for the purposes of the film.
  • The eponymous character of Chasing Amanda mentions being raped by her brother almost casually. Her uncle is appropriately stunned, but she zips right by it. Her treatment of the subject may be partly due to her tendency to "hide" from her own life, but it still feels like an attempt at cheap sympathy for a movie lacking in sympathetic characters.
  • Lexy in Adulthood
  • Mary Kay in The Woodsman is a possible example of this
  • Martha Beck in The Lonely Hearts Killers, though this is Justified, as the Real Life Martha Beck claimed to have been raped by her brother.
  • Chances are at least one character in a Tyler Perry film has this excuse.
  • In Red Eye, Lisa reveals that she was raped at knifepoint two years earlier; she bears a scar on her chest from the attack. It's inferred that she makes a strong association between that ordeal and her current situation with Jackson, the terrorist who's forcing her to aid in the assassination.

Literature

  • In the original Japanese novel that inspired The Ring (and its various remakes,) Sadako is raped by Nagao Jotaro - who finds out too late (and to his horror) that she suffers Testicular Feminization Syndrome, which gives her a healthy set of testes. Ashamed and humiliated, she retaliates with a massive telepathic attack, but he overcomes her long enough to strangle her and toss her down the infamous well. Sadako's vengeance against the world therefore stems from that incident.
  • Esmay Suiza in Once a Hero by Elizabeth Moon was raped as a kid. That, and even more how her family handles it, gives her major personal issues to work through. She does seek therapy by the end of the book.
  • Not exactly fitting the trope (move it if you know a better category): In one The Destroyer book, a minor antagonist sincerely believes that it is not only the right, but the duty, of a true man to have sex with a woman when the opportunity presents itself, regardless of what she feels about it. He even adds that he's raped several lesbians just to "show them what they're missing out on". This serves to establish, very heavy-handedly, how utterly morally bankrupt the character is, so you'll cheer when the protagonists kill him in gristly fashion later.
  • Forms part of the back stories for the James Bond heroines Honey Ryder (Dr. No) and Pussy Galore (Goldfinger).
  • Germain from Eric Nylund's A Game of Universe has Attempted Rape in his backstory. His brother was prostituted out by their father, and then his brother tried to rape Germain in retribution for not attempting to stop his rape. Germain stopped the rape by hitting his brother over the head with a jar of fermenting fruit, accidentally killing him. Germain ran from home before this was discovered and got mixed up in the events that would lead to him becoming a mentally twisted assassin.
  • Most characters in "Hotel New Hampshire" have rape as a backstory.
  • Sookie Stackhouse's Cousin Hadley is mentioned offhandedly at first. She ran away from home as a teenager, got into a life of drugs and prostitution, before finally getting mixed up in vampire politics and murdered for it. As Sookie begins investigating her long-lost cousin's life and death, she realizes that Hadley was also raped by the same great uncle. Unfortunately, Hadley's parents didn't believe her, leading her to run away from home.
  • The Heralds of Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey uses this on several occasions. Tarma from Vows and Honor is a classic example: beaten, raped, and left for dead by her clan's murderers. Her partner Kethry also suffered this fate, having been sold into "marriage" as a child and only managing to escape due to the kindness of a servant. Each deals with it in different ways: Tarma by becoming a Swordsworn of her Goddess (and thereby asexual); and Kethry by being forced to confront her rapist and defeat him. There are some Heralds from later novels that also have rape (often child rape) in their backstories -- Talia became Chosen after fleeing from a child marriage that would have been tantamount to rape.
  • Carnival from the Deepgate Codex series. It was particularly brutal, and even after three millennia, she's still not over it.
  • Lots of characters in the Outlander series have rape somewhere in their backstory. But we actually only even meet Fergus because Jamie managed to interrupt Jack Randall raping the boy.
  • The final novel of The Dark Tower reveals that Randall Flagg/Walter o'Dim (a Big Bad in the series as well as King's other novels had been raped when he was thirteen years old.
  • Segnbora from The Tale of Five was raped as a child.
  • Wicked Lovely series- Leslie's brother drugged her and handed her over to his friends to be raped as a way to pay for his drug addiction.
    • Also Niall, revealed to have been raped and abused by the dark court after declining Irial's offer of kingship. Made particularly painful when you see the full extent of his scars and realize that they came from the same event. And the fact that Irial, whom Niall was in a relationship with, not only allowed them to but actually ordered it...many of the fans consider the rape to be a Moral Event Horizon crossing. Oh, and Niall either had to give them himself or the mortals he had enchanted...Give the guy a break already!

 "You entertain the court or they can, gancanagh. Fear and pain is the coin for their ransom; it matters little to me who pays it." ~Irial.

  • In Mary Gentle's Ash: A Secret History, Ash, aged eight, is raped in the book's very first pages. She kills her attackers, and this begins a life of violence. It's part of what makes her into someone who's callous and lacking in introspection.
  • Rosalie from The Twilight Saga heavily implies in Eclipse that she was turned into a vampire after being gang raped and left for dead by her fiance and his friends the night before her wedding. Don't worry, though; she definitely got them all back.
  • Diamonds Are Forever. Tiffany Case was the daughter of a madame who stopped paying protection money to the mob, the mob chased out the hookers and gang raped Tiffany at a young age.
  • In Codex Alera Odiana was enslaved and gangraped, at the same time as her empathic powers activated. She is as a result quite mad.
  • Part of the reason that Kennit, of the Liveship Traders trilogy, is so messed up is that he was repeatedly raped (among other abuse) as a child. This leads to...repercussions, later.
  • In Death: Eve and Dr. Mira have been raped as children. Dr. Mira seems to have dealt with it, while Eve basically spends the entire series trying to deal with it.
  • The aftermath of an attempted rape some 25 years prior to the story plays a significant part in the first four or five books in the Honorverse.
  • A complicated male example in A Song of Ice and Fire. The dwarf Tyrion Lannister met a woman named Tysha, with whom he fell in love and tried to hide from his family because she was not a noble. Then, his father Tywin reveals that she was a prostitute who Tyrion's brother had hired secretly for him because A Man Is Not a Virgin. To "prove" how she was a hooker, he hires her to have sex with the entire family garrison and then forces Tyrion to go last. This experience naturally scars Tyrion his entire life, until he later learns the truth from his older brother Jaime: Tysha was never a prostitute (and she actually liked him), Tywin lied, and the scene with the garrison was in fact a gang rape. Cue Berserk Button.
  • In Sputnik Sweetheart, this is implied for Miu.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: The first book Weekend Warriors reveals that three bikers raped Kathryn Lucas in front of her disabled husband, and they knew that her husband was disabled and helpless to stop them. Naturally, she was left badly scarred by this. The book has her and her new friends track down the three bikers responsible and give them the John Wayne Bobbit treatment in order for her to obtain closure in this matter. After that book, her attitude remains as combative, confrontational, explosive and fiery as ever, which suggests that her behaviour may simply be part of who she is, and not just the result of her being raped.
  • Used to effect in Nick Cave's And The Ass Saw The Angel when toward the end, the narrator reveals that he got raped one time. He's already so completely insane that its lack of effect on him feels wholly in-character.
  • Subverted in-character in Russka, where a young woman from the Ukraine confesses to her fiance that she's no longer a virgin, having been raped by a Tatar when she was younger. (Truth is, she's been in an incestuous relationship with her widowed father for years, brought about due to mutual grief and social isolation, plus her father's alcoholism.) The alleged rape is only alluded to once after that, when her now-husband kills a Tatar raider, and by that point she's forgotten telling him the story.
  • In John Dies at the End it is heavily implied that the genesis of Dave's cynicism, as well as the reason he was put in the 'Emotionally Disturbed' school program where he met John and kicked off the book's plot, was because he took bloody revenge against a man who had raped him.
  • Rosemary in "Tender is the Night". Largely to justify her bizarre behaviour and highlight the fractured nature of Dick Diver's life.

Live Action TV

  • In Justified, Detroit mob lieutenant Quarles reveals to Donovan and Duffy that his father pimped him out when he was a child to get money for heroin. Quarles' proclivity for abducting and torturing male hustlers seems to be a pathological attempt to process his childhood sexual abuse.
  • In the episode The Satyr of Buck Rogers in The 25th Century, it is strongly implied that this has happened to Dolph's mother.
  • In Prison Break Gretchen, when she was still going by the alias "Susan B. Anthony," rather creepily tells her hostage, L.J., all about her own abuse at the hands of her captors when she was a prisoner of war, all to explain why he shouldn't ever attempt to escape like she did.
  • Det. Olivia Benson on Law and Order SVU believes that she is the product of her mother's rape, and it forms the core of her character, although in later episodes it is debated whether or not her alcoholic mother had fabricated this story to cover the shame of a drunken sex act.
  • ADA Abbie Charmicheal on Law and Order was raped by her boyfriend in law school.
    • Detective Mike Logan is revealed to have been one of several victims of a Pedophile Priest.
  • In Higher Ground, Scott, Shelby, and her sister Jess were all victims of sexual molestation at the hands of a step-parent.
  • In The Listener, it's revealed that Charlie was raped by a teacher. This is used to explain why she is so upset about Toby being able to read her mind, because no-one who hasn't been raped is ever protective of their privacy, no sir.
  • In a first season episode of Beverly Hills, 90210, Kelly reveals to her friends during a sleepover that the way she really lost her virginity was not to her ex-boyfriend Steve, but to Ross Weber, an older boy she had a crush on as a freshman, who took her into the woods and had sex with her. The word "rape" is never used and so the scene is open to interpretation, but a good number of the fans (and Jennie Garth herself) regard the story as a case of date rape. In the seventh season, the show's vixen troublemaker Valerie, is revealed to have been raped by her father since she was 11 until he killed himself when she was 19. It is also revealed that he killed himself because she and her boyfriend had threatened to tell the cops on him if he didn't get help. In the next season, the story changes in that Valerie actually killed her father in response to him raping her.
  • Veronica Mars. Later it turns out she wasn't actually raped, she had consensual sex with her equally drugged ex-boyfriend who left because he thought she was his sister. Then even later it turns out she was raped after all.
    • There's also Cassidy Casablancas, who both had Rape as Backstory and caused it.
  • Gabrielle in Desperate Housewives. It's casually mentioned in season 1 that she ran away from home after being raped by her stepfather and later referred to as to why she has a cold relationship with her mother.
  • Nick from CSI was raped by a female baby-sitter when he was 9 years old. This was only mentioned once to Catherine in the second season. His rape was not even brought up in a recent episode which dealt with him trying to help a young boy that was raped despite 2 times when it would have been helpful, when the rape councilor accused him of not really caring about the boy and when he was trying to get the boy to tell him about the rape.
  • James Robson on Oz was a murderer who enjoyed raping other inmates. It is later revealed that he himself was raped as a child.
  • Jenny Schecter from The L Word. Her entire second season story arc revolved around dealing with the trauma.
  • On The Wire, Michael's coldness, aversion to physical contact, and distrust of authority figures stems from his molestation by his stepfather.
  • Sookie of True Blood was molested by her great uncle as a child. When vampire boyfriend Bill finds out, he doesn't take it well.

Opera

  • An interesting subversion can be found in Giacomo Puccini's Turandot, in which the titular character explains to the protagonist that her ancestress, Princess Lo-u-Ling, was raped and killed by an invading foreign prince. As a revenge, Princess Turandot challenges her suitors to answer her three questions, with the terms that, in the case of failure, they will be executed.

Video Games

  • In the computer game adaptation of I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, Harlan Ellison expanded on Ellen's backstory by making her a rape victim in the past: Specifically, she was once assaulted by a man in a yellow repairman's jumpsuit in a halted elevator. AM uses this fact to his advantage in torturing her in the game, by decorating every environment with the colour yellow as a reminder of the event. However the player is given the chance to help her conquer her fear and give her the strength to fight back against her rapist.
  • Hal "Otacon" Emmerich's social awkwardness in Metal Gear Solid was explained in Metal Gear Solid 2 as the result of being sexually abused by his stepmother at age 14. Later his father committed suicide by drowning himself in the family's pool after he learned it and his step-sister nearly drowned and is still terrified by water due to that.
    • Subverted by the Beauty And Beast unit in Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots, despite the horrible tragedies afflicted upon them. None of them were supposedly raped by the soldiers in the past. However what happened to them is pretty much Mind Rape in the worst way possible.
  • In Mass Effect 2, Jack has apparently been repeatedly sexually abused since she was a young child. Unlike many characters, though, Jack doesn't apparently angst over it; it says something about how screwed up her life is when being sexually assaulted as a child is one of her least traumatic memories.
    • When talking about her escape from the Cerberus lab, Jack mentions that she hitched a ride on a transport freighter, and that "the crew used me, then sold me." It's spoken with the same casual tone one would associate with getting the mail or ordering coffee, which makes it all the more chilling.
      • She seems more emotionally involved when she describes being caught by guards in the toilet and beaten and raped while she was in prison. Though the emotion in that is mostly restricted to her description of later killing her attackers.
  • Although not the actual rape victim, Luca Blight from Suikoden II was forced to watch the rape of his mother, Queen Sara, on the hands of bandits hired by the Muse mayor. . Luca will hold a deep grudge against his father Agares because of his perceived inaction, culminating in the prince killing the king with a poisoned chalice. His sister and sort-of Morality Pet Jillia is the result of the rape, and Sara descended into severe depression that led to her death.
  • Sapphire, a member of the Thieves' Guild in The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, had her family murdered by a bandit gang, which then took her back to their camp to be gang-raped for two weeks. Then she managed to get her hands on a knife and slaughtered them.
  • Heavily implied in regards to Prince Leo's retainer Niles in Fire Emblem Fates, especially in the original Japanese version. And that's one of the many terrible things that happened in his past.

Visual Novels

Webcomics

  • In the webcomic A Modest Destiny a character is bizarrely unhappy that she doesn't have a rape backstory. Instead it was attempted rape, and what happened instead mentally scarred her for life. Yes, this is a webcomic.
  • Dominic Deegan has two characters with a back story like this. It's debatable whether the love interest of the protagonist would count, since she consented beforehand, but was heavily pressured into it and was verbally abused immediately after. The character Melna, however, is raped in one of the most mind-boggling arcs in the entire series.
  • The webcomic The Law of Purple has two male examples.
  • Boudica in Shades, of course she is a Historical Domain Character and the event actually happened. 2000 years later and she still isn't quite over it.
  • It's revealed in the Interview section for the characters of Flipside that Umber was raped as a girl.


Web Original

  • Shin in Sailor Nothing. A rare example of it being done just right -- she's mostly gotten over it, but it does subtly color her character. When she realizes Himei is going to be raped, her reaction is heart-rendingly visceral.
  • The Nostalgia Critic was date-raped when he tried to go to prom. When he's raped again by Spoony, he's so traumatized he can't speak, but then goes into Rape Is Love mode.
  • Survival of the Fittest has several characters in version one and the version two pregame (most characters in version two proper either retconned it out or didn't use it to begin with) who mention having been raped in their profile, to the point that some handlers were exasperatedly asking if anyone had not been raped.


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