Created By: DA on April 22, 2011 Last Edited By: DA2 on May 10, 2011

Gratuitous Rape

Rape for rape's sake

Name Space:
Page Type:

"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, InsideOut

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 the Big Bad as very, very, evil, or it can be used for just plain ol' Fanservice. 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 ensuing is if:

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 thanks to Bad Writing.

Compare Rape Is The New Dead Parents, where rape is offhandedly thrown into the background (these two tropes can overlap with a random flashback to said rape). Contrast Coitus Ensues, an pointless but consensual sex scene.



  • Sleez forcing a mind-controlled Big Barda to star in porn movies in Action Comics #593. He almost did it to Superman, too.

Fan Fic

  • 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. Jack brutally kills everybody else but stops to rape the teenage girl taking a bath.
  • The rapes in The Hills Have Eyes.

Tabletop Games
  • FATAL gives players plenty of opportunities to engage in this, since rape is usually not even considered a crime in its universe.

Web Comics
  • Lampshaded 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."

Video Games
Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • April 23, 2011
    In the HBO version of GRR Martin's 'Game of Thrones' Khal Drogo more or less rapes Dany on their wedding night. In the books, he only knows the words 'yes' and 'no' in her language, but he stops and says 'no' when she starts crying, and then asks again 'no?' and doesn't have sex with her until she says 'yes.' One gets the impression that he made a point of learning those two words the day before just so he could avoid starting his marriage off on a traumatically bad note. Why'd they change it? Was there not enough rape in the books? 'Cause there's lots. Really. Did you really need more rape?
  • April 24, 2011
    Do we really need a picture for the rape trope?
  • April 24, 2011
    ^ Seconded. Also, this would greatly benefit from more non-fanfic examples
  • April 24, 2011
    @Auxlarastrix: Uh, I guess not?

    @ancientcampus: I think so too. But I, personally, either can't remember any more examples, and the ones I can (i.e., the Gor novels) are based on heresay.
  • April 24, 2011
    Thirded on the picture.

    Female characters fall victim to this a lot in Darker And Edgier stories, because the writer wants to establish that the baddies are really bad or because they want a Bad Thing to happen to their female character, and most people generally agree that rape is the worst Bad Thing that could happen to such a character.

    In response to Visp: It's been a long time since I read A Game of Thrones, so I couldn't exactly remember how that scene went in the book, but I was thinking the same thing. Perhaps they wanted to really drive home how traumatic the situation was for her? Or maybe they thought it could be misinterpreted as Unfortunate Implications if she indicated she was okay with sex that she obviously didn't want?
  • April 25, 2011
    I'm confused as to what this trope is supposed to be. Fanfic oriented? Subjective trope? (Can we say it happens for no reason?)

    Also, keep in mind, we already have: Rape As Drama, Rape As Comedy, Rape Is Love, Rape As Redemption, Rape As Backstory. All of these have built in reasons/assumptions for why they are happening. Not to mention the whole slew of character or situation specific tropes also listend on the Rape Tropes index. If there is a trope here you should make sure it's not a rehash of something already covered there.
  • April 25, 2011

    Something Positive: In-universe, 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."
  • April 25, 2011
    @whereismytea: This, for the most part, is a Bad Writing trope. Though it does have room to be subjective like its consensual counterpart, Coitus Ensues - I'm sure there's some debates about whether certain rape scenes are necessary or not. As for the "reason" there CAN be one, but it's usually a very shoddy one (i.e., Idiot Plot).

    I've looked up and down the site, and the only pre-existing rape trope that came close to what I'm trying to get at here was Rape Is The New Dead Parents. However, that's offscreen rape thrown in the backstory just because. What I'm talking about here is a rape SCENE thrown in just because (and we have to see it).

    I should ask, however, if Coitus Ensues would cover this, or if it should be a separate trope due to being random rape instead of random sex.
  • April 25, 2011
    Well, then I don't think Khal Drogo and Dany qualifies. Marital Rape License absolutely fit both the setting and his character and just because they make him a little different from source material doesn't make it contrived.
  • April 25, 2011
    @DA: In the Gor novels "rape" is used in a different way, more like its original meaning of ravishment.
  • April 26, 2011
    Maybe just call it Gratuitous Rape Scene, so that it can be Exactly What It Says On The Tin.

    I personally find the rape scene in Once Upon A Time In The West completely gratuitous and detracting from the film, but YMMV.
  • April 26, 2011
    Seconding Gratuitous Rape Scene, if this is actually going to be a trope.
  • April 30, 2011
    Yeah, that's probably a good idea. I created the original title to coincide with Coitus Ensues and to snark at this trope's badness. But some people might find the snark offensive too, so a neutral title is better.
  • April 30, 2011
    I'm afraid that this trope will turn exactly into complaining about rape you don't approve and will be completely useless.
  • April 30, 2011
    I agree this will be a useless trope.
  • April 30, 2011
    Everythings Worse With Rape?

    I am so very, very sorry.
  • April 30, 2011
    Rape Is The New Dead Parents pulled as non-backstory element.
  • April 30, 2011
    @Glucharina & Sackett: Quite frankly, that could apply to a lot of tropes here (that is, becoming useless by degenerating into Complaining About X You Don't Like). How about we slap a warning on it telling people to only add rape scenes that were actually random and unnecessary to the plot, and not just ones they didn't like? That won't keep everyone out, but we can always remove complaints later.

    @Morgan Wick: LOL. I think Gratuitous Rape is a bit closer to the mark, though.

    @peccantis: Yeah, somewhat like that too.
  • May 6, 2011
    Haven't seen The Hills Have Eyes in a long time, so someone will need to back this up, but IIRC Emilie deRavin's character gets raped pretty gratuitously when the mutants attack the trailer. Or was it the wife...
  • May 6, 2011
    ^ I've heard the same thing too from summaries and reviews. Unfortunately, I haven't seen the movie myself.
  • May 6, 2011
    Gave it a thumb.

    By the way, supposedly it's one quote per page. There are many with two, yes, but we usually move one to the quotes page when the page is under TRS or Image Pickin'. So pick one. I'll go with the first, sourced one.
  • May 6, 2011
    ^ Thanks! And yeah, I was looking at the "special" pages that have multiple quotes (like So Bad Its Horrible) when I decided to use two quotes. The sourced quote says it best, anyway.
  • May 6, 2011
    I'd suggest not including the Game Of Thrones example, since although the sex in the book is not violent, it's quite obvious that Dany does not want it. She was sold into that marriage.
  • May 10, 2011
    5th thumb voted in. Its green lit and go for launch.
  • May 10, 2011
    Alright, thanks! :)