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Defiled Forever
To be honest, she's a bit of a Drama Queen. Subversion follows in the next frame.
"The fallen man again can soar, but woman falls to rise no more."
James Nack, "The Difference", Romance of the Ring and Other Poems (1859)

The idea that extramarital sex, including sexual assault, morally corrupts and/or defiles one (where "one" is usually female) forever, possibly to the point of barring them from marriage and/or True Love. Usually present in settings in which virginity is particularly prized. Often used as further justification for why Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil, as the rapist is not only violently traumatizing the victim but also permanently rendering them unsuitable for marriage or otherwise unable to reach a Happily Ever After with a lover of their choosing. In modern works, the victim sometimes believes they are Defiled Forever only for a Love Interest to convince them otherwise before they get their Happily Ever After. Traditionally, the popular media sidestepped this issue or avoided it altogether whenever they could, due to the Hays Code and other factors.

In a number of cultures, both historically and currently, this is sadly considered Truth in Television.

In real life, victims of violence (sexual or otherwise) may react in ways varying from being deeply traumatized for life even with the best help, through a relatively smooth recovery, all the way to (in less violent cases on the lighter end of the Questionable Consent spectrum) barely affected at all, or even surprised that what happened is considered a crime.

Contrast Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil, where it is the attacker rather then the victim that is portrayed as irredeemable, and Rape Portrayed as Redemption for the opposite effect on the victim.

No individual real life examples, please.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Fushigi Yugi, it is apparently the preferred major tactical strategy of the forces of Seiryuu Star Warriors in neutralizing their rival forces of the Suzaku Star Warriors by raping/seducing their Celestial Maiden, and thus preventing her from summoning the patron god Suzaku (who required Virgin Power) who could then battle their patron god Seiryuu. Also used as a ploy into tricking their own Celestial Maiden into joining their side in the first place by turning on her best friend (who was the other CM).
    • The Big Bad, however, is a relatively uncommon male example of this trope, as it is later revealed to be what originally caused his Start of Darkness.
    • Also invoked in Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden, when Takiko discovers that the girl she helped is one of her celestial warriors... and doesn't stay a girl all the time. Takiko was very shocked when she woke up with a man in her bed, and freaked out, saying that she'd never be able to marry.
  • A very common trope in yaoi works, especially older Unfortunate Implications and Values Dissonance laden ones, and occasionally in newer works. Thankfully, though, many newer works are just as likely to subvert or outright defy the trope. Just a few of the Boys Love / yaoi examples would be:
    • Soubi from Loveless after having been raped by his teacher as a teenager, and now he's pretty much an Extreme Doormat. Yeah, thanks a lot, Ritsu. Also used to deconstruct the idea of Sex as Rite-of-Passage.
    • Ai no Kusabi's Riki, who explains to his ex-lover that they can't get back together because another man's poison has seeped into his body and he is now permanently tainted.
    • Discussed and ultimately defied in Kusatta Kyoushino Houteishiki, with a Rare Male Example. Masayoshi's brother Masami was sexually abused as a teenager and has many hidden issues about it. He finally explains them to his boyfriend Tooru and says he considers himself soiled. Tooru then defies the trope via supporting Masami and telling him he's not defiled and that it's not his fault.
    • A Cruel God Reigns: In a Rare Male Example, Jeremy INSISTS that his body is rotting and that he gives off a bad smell as a result of the sexual abuse he is receiving from his stepfather. In a slight inversion of the trope, it is Ian, who is both the offender's son and Jeremy's love interest, that tries to convince him otherwise.
    Jeremy: It hurts to talk about my rotten smell with the person I like.
    Ian: You don't smell strange. You don't smell rotten, Jeremy.
    Jeremy: Did I make you dirty?

  • In Hayate the Combat Butler, two characters react this way to the 'threat' of being touched this way. When they complain about this, neither character would have an inkling of a thought of doing something inappropriate, so it's able to be played for humor.
    • Saki is worried about being seen as this whenever Hayate touches her.
    • Hinagiku thinks she has been defiled and bemoans that she can't be someone's bride anymore when Ayumu drys her off after she faints in the hot springs. Ayumu says she'll still take her, and when reminded of her crush on Hayate, she suggests Polyamory.
  • In After School Nightmare, as a kindergartener, Kureha was brutally raped on her walk home from school; it's implied that this alone might not have been so bad, except that her father didn't give half a damn that his five-year-old daughter had been beaten and sexually violated, only complaining that she was now "damaged goods" that no man would want, and her own mother (who, incidentally, was frequently beaten by the father) didn't even object.
  • In Bitter Virgin, female lead Hinako is plagued by this way of thinking after she was abused by her stepfather and became pregnant in middle school. Much of the story is made up of Daisuke trying to get through to her despite her thinking this way about herself. The trope is very much defied by Daisuke's sister Izumi, who makes it perfectly clear to their somewhat old-fashioned and moralistic mother (and anyone else that tries to judge her) that she has no less self-respect for herself just because she got pregnant out of wedlock.
  • Not an in-show example, but when it was revealed that Nagi had a boyfriend before Jin, fans went nuts.
  • Invoked and discussed in Wolfen Crest, while Akiko Aoshika, the lead female, is gangraped. The guy who staged her gangrape, Haguro Dou, filmed said incident and is about to release it on the Internet for everyone to see to have her life ruined even further. And for worse, Aoshika already considered herself defiled beforehand, having been sexually abused in her younger years..
    • Ultimately defied: when she explains her backstory to lead male Akira Inugami (who was driven to tears when he was Forced to Watch the gangrape through a video), he tells her that no, not only she's not defiled, but he is the one who doesn't deserve her at all. This is reaffirmed via his Anguished Declaration of Love a few episodes later.
  • Guts from Berserk is a Rare Male Example. As a boy, Guts is raped by a fellow mercenary when his adoptive father sells him for three silver coins for one night. This experience pretty much ruins Guts' life and turns him into the man he is in the present. Then, he meets Casca, and eventually, they consummate their relationship. But then Guts has an emotional breakdown right in the middle of the act, and tries to leave because he thinks he's ruined and that he's driven Casca away. But Casca doesn't think this at all.
    • And then it gets worse: Their gang leader Griffin goes insane and rapes Casca. She never gets over it, partly because by this point he's supernaturally crazy and anointed by GOD (said god is actually a manifestation of people's self-denial/ignorance of their evil). Not only does she revert to a childlike personality, but when she gets pregnant the baby is corrupted by the supernatural and turned into a tragic monster. That gets sacrificed for the rapist's sake. Yeah, this is one hell of a crapsack setting.
  • Mizore Shirayuki from Rosario + Vampire reacts this way to Miyabi, even though he only went as far as stealing a kiss and handling her a bit forcefully. Still, that alone would have been a very traumatic experience, especially since she was so emotionally fragile to begin with. She proceeds to jump out of a window, only for Kurumu to save her in a combined Crowning Moment Of Awesome and Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
  • Attempted and Defied in Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne: Maron herself was presumably RAPED by Noin to end her "purity". The defied part came in when it turns out that's not the definition of "pure"; being "pure" means having a pure soul and believing in your own purity, and Maron realizes this about halfway through the series, also inspiring hope in her past reincarnation.
  • Negi saves one of his students from "becoming unmarriable" from an Attempted Rape in the penultimate chapter of the manga.
  • While a mild and instantly forgotten example, episode 2 of the first season of Sailor Moon had Ms. Haruna, Usagi's teacher, immediately believe that "no one will ever marry her" after a possessed Umino (Melvin in the dub) flipped her skirt. This scene is the most likely reason why this episode was not dubbed into English.
  • In K-On!, the extremely timid Mio sobs, "No one will marry me now!" after tripping onstage and giving the audience a Panty Shot... and also after being forcibly stripped and put in a skimpy outfit. Played for Laughs, being a Minor Injury Overreaction.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya when Mikuru asks Kyon if he'll take her if she becomes ruined for marriage by Haruhi's treatment.
  • A comedic example occurs with Aoi from Zettai Karen Children, who has this reaction to things that aren't really sexual.
  • Episode 8 of Nyarko-san has the Lovable Sex Maniac Nyarko overreact with "I'll never get married!" when she thinks a boy has seen her underwear. The parody comes from the contrast with the normal course of events, and that her dress is too long and flowing for any such incidents.
  • Played for Laughs in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei when Shrinking Violet Kiri Komori declares herself this after Commodore Perry, in his frenzy to open anything and everything, parts her Blinding Bangs and gets a look at her eyes.
  • Yet another comedic example in the manga Kuragehime when Tsukimi has to overcome her geekiness to help a drunk, naked Kuranosuke to bed after he slipped in the shower.

    Comic Books 
  • One Gotham Central story line ended with the invocation of this trope by a crazy, propriety-obsessed old woman, who believing her daughter to have been raped rather than, in fact, having premarital sex, convinced the Mad Hatter to kill the entire football team of her daughter's school. The worst part? The girl was dating the star quarterback, and the reason she had to admit to having had premarital sex was that he had gotten her pregnant, thus meaning that her lie killed her child's father.
  • In the Very Special Miniseries, Lois Lane Lois investigates child molestation, abuse, and murder. One woman whose 5 year old daughter was sexually abused bemoans the fact that she "ain't a virgin no more" and "what man would want her now?"
  • Jack Chick gets really overboard with this trope in the Chick Tract called "Uninvited": The tract features a nurse who harasses dying AIDS-patients for their "crime" of being gay. Of course, her actions are fully justified within the verse of the tract, since this is an anviliciously bigoted Author Tract. The real kick? It turns out that all the homosexuals became homosexual because they were sexually molested as children. More to the point, when a child gets sexually molested, she automatically becomes unclean, possessed by a demon of defilement. The trope is played straight for everyone who isn't both The Fundamentalist and a Christian. Averted for all characters who are (or become) Holier Than Thou: Jesus Saves, everybody else takes 5d6 points of damage.
  • Invoked & defied in The Sandman. The prehistoric African virgin queen Nada wants the amorous title character to leave her alone, so she breaks her own hymen with a sharpened stone, reasoning he won't be interested in her after she's already been "deflowered". This would be an entirely valid tactic for the time and place, though Nada understandably didn't count on the fact that Dream is responsible for the dreams of an entire universe's worth of sentient life and has already picked up some rather cosmopolitan ideas about sexuality from the planets that are at a different stage in their cultural evolution.
  • Invoked in Invincible when Mark has dinner with Eve's parents for the first time. Mark is shocked by just how much of a sexist throwback Eve's father is.
    Mr. Wilkins: I wanted to thank you. I know that my little angel is no angel. I caught her one time, with that long-haired boy. The one that died. You know she had him living here for a while? We didn't even know. Anyway, I appreciate you giving her a chance... knowing you're not her first.
    She never really got just how IMPORTANT virginity is to a woman. Men like to feel like they're breaking new ground. They want to be the teachers... they want to be in charge. Hard to do that if there's no corners left unexplored, right? Betsy was a virgin when we got together. You can always tell when you're with a virgin. They just act differently... less confidence. It's ATTRACTIVE. Don't know if I would have married Betsy, had things been... different. I don't like coming in second... or third... or... whatever the case may be. It's good of you to look past my daughter's obvious flaws. Shows character. I respect that.
    **Cut to Mark sitting on the couch in silence, visibly shocked.**
    Eve: I told you it would be horrible.
  • In the "Truth or Dare" story in Runaways, Victor and Chase unwittingly invoke this trope after Nico tries to use Klara's presence in the room as an excuse to avoid answering a question about which of them is the better kisser; they claim it's okay to talk about such things in front of Klara because she's "already been married."

    Fan Fic 
  • The House fanfic "Used" invokes this against a man. After House is gang-raped by Tritter and his goons, Tritter tells House that he is a "filthy little whore that no one will ever want to touch again".
  • Played tearjerkingly straight in the Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfic Scar Tissue where Asuka was determined to completely destroy Shinji's life. A few months after Third Impact, she barged into his room when they were alone at home and said "pants off, bastard". Shinji was crying through the whole thing but didn't resist and didn't tell anyone that he was being raped repeatedly for six months because he really believed that he deserved this, even going so far as carving "MY FAULT" in kanji into his chest with a knife once Asuka was finished). To top it all off? Those who saw End of Evangelion know that neither of them acted out of character, since they were both that fucked up by how bad it got.
  • In the Kung Fu Panda fanfic, Memoirs Of A Master, Yeying, Master Shifu's supposedly dead wife comes to the Jade Palace after years of being tortured and raped in prison by an evil tyrant, convinced that Shifu would reject her. However, before she can fully articulate that fear, Shifu embraces her with a love undiminished after 40 years of separation and firmly asserts without equivocation that he is overjoyed beyond words to take her back. Furthermore, after hearing what she suffered, Shifu blew his top ranting that he so wished he could spit on the dead villain's grave for doing that to her.
  • Narmishly implied to be Dark Link's plan for Jenna in My Inner Life, causing her to exclaim that she "won't have anything to do with [him] in that manor!"
  • A Rare Male Example comes in the rather... infamous Hetalia fic Some scars are easy to hide, where a Lithuania who has been physically AND sexually abused by Russia tearfully tells Poland "I'm damaged goods, Feliks" before an Intimate Psychotherapy session. The premise is so unintentionally funny that the "I'm damaged goods Feliks" line reached Memetic Mutation levels.
  • Played with in Gensokyo 20 XX with Yukari in that she views herself as this after the events of Gensokyo 20XXI, which isn't farfeched, considering exactly what had happened to her.
    • In 20XXIV, Ran's case, it is a rather strange and complex variant, in that she is no longer be virgin (he knows about her previous sexual encounter), she was looking to get married to someone who isn't put off by her and, as far as she knows, any other kitsune that tries to have his way with her by force will ruin her, which in simple terms: almost and just about being forced when she was engaged ruined her. However, according to Amoridere, there is a far deeper reason and that is because, in addition to someone forcibly having their way with, especially when she is engaged, she feels she has been unfaithful, blaming herself for something that isn't her fault.

    Film 
  • In The Housemaid, after her boss knocks her up, the housemaid says he has to take care of her because no man will marry her now.
  • The movie version of Titus Andronicus portrays the rape victim this way, as a way of justifying why the protagonist chose to murder her. Also crosses over with Mercy Kill, since in the original play the implication that Lavinia is Defiled Forever is certainly present, but the fact that she's had her tongue cut out and her hands cut off also appears to be a factor in her father's decision to kill her. Some productions make this marginally more acceptable to the modern viewer by having Lavinia, after naming her rapists, make it clear (non-verbally, obviously) that she wants to die, and by having her mention before it happens that she would rather die than undergo it.
  • In Baise Moi, a rape transforms the victims into destructive Omnicidal Maniacs. This is not Rape and Revenge, since the victims aren't going up against those who are guilty or even people who they in some twisted way believe is guilty. It's more like the rape simply made them lose their humanity.
  • Both the short story and the movie versions of The Searchers have the supposed hero believing this. At first, we admit that his anti-Indian prejudice is at least partially justified, since his mother, brother, sister-in-law, and older niece are all killed in Comanche raids. But it eventually becomes clear that he is a Politically Incorrect Villain who hates all Indians, whether violent or not (including his part-Cherokee adopted nephew) — and thinks that any white female who is raped by an Indian man (in this case, his younger niece) must die after being "defiled." There are even some Unfortunate Implications that the other family members of the niece — and possibly even the niece herself - would want it that way.
  • The Swedish movie Lilja Four Ever takes a very grim view on present-day trafficking. It is loosely based on a real case where a underage girl from one of the ex-Soviet countries killed herself in Sweden after having been lured there by a guy who turned out to be a pimp. In the movie, he rapes her repeatedly and then tries to convince her that she's now a prostitute no matter what.
  • This trope seems to be one thing the differing accounts of events in Rashomon agree upon.
  • A particularly egregious straight instance appears in For a Few Dollars More, where the Colonel's sister, being raped by Indio, grabs a gun and purposely shoots herself instead of him! Though not stated, the death of her husband shortly before may have been a factor.
  • This was a common cliché in many Nazi Propaganda films that were churned out during the Third Reich's hostile takeover of the German film industry. The cinemas were flooded with overwrought melodramas dealing with virginal Aryan heroines driven to suicide after being raped or seduced by vile Jewish (or other racially "impure") men. Naturally, this has had the sad effect of causing sexual purity to be associated with Nazism in some people's minds.
    • German camp icon Kristina Söderbaum made an entire career out of playing such characters. After her third "rape victim driven to suicide" role, she was given the monicker "Reichswasserleiche" (roughly translated as "Reich's Main Water Corpse") by the cinema goers due to her favored method of dispatch usually being drowning. Needlessly to say, her own career drowned without a trace after the demise of the Third Reich.
  • In Showdown in Little Tokyo, the Big Bad is strongly implied to have raped the lead singer of his new club. In the next scene the singer is about to commit Seppuku after Kenner notes that it's usually only done by women in cases of extreme dishonor.
  • There is a very touching aversion in Rob Roy. When Rob's wife is raped, Rob is understandably furious, but directs it all at the rapist and is, if anything, even more loving and affectionate towards his wife than earlier.
  • Easy A plays with the trope. The heroine, Olive, initially discovers that a reputation for being "easy" has advantages, but soon finds that it also has drawbacks, even in a liberal-minded modern setting. In the end, she concludes that her sex life is none of anyone else's damn business, apart from the guy who might be involved.

    Literature 
  • The book I Choose Life is an Author Tract against this trope. The main character (who is also the writer) was kidnapped as a child — molested, tortured, and almost murdered. Afterwards, one of her main problems was with people trying to make this trauma her permanent identity instead of acknowledging that it was one horrible incident that happened to her, and is now over.
  • Twilight averts this with Rosalie, who has no angst about being raped. Some detractors have claimed her cavalier attitude is unrealistic. The reason for this is the rape happened more than seventy years ago, so she's had time to get over it and kill her rapists.
  • Peter Pan plays this either Up to Eleven or with a metaphor: Tiger Lily has a vendetta against Captain Hook because he stepped on her shadow, in very specific circumstances, when she was six years old, thus leaving her Defiled Forever.
  • It's possible to read Belinda's reaction to the Baron cutting her hair in The Rape of the Lock as this (note: Rape means forcible theft in this context). Then again, considering the entire thing is a satire of the war of the sexes, it's not nearly as grim as the other examples.
  • Tess of the d'Urbervilles, good high heaven yes. Tess was raped by her employer while sleeping, and it's implied that she was raped again in the month in his service that followed before she slipped away in the dead of night. Because of this, her family and even her previously adoring and doting husband — Angel — consider her a ruined woman. Angel's reaction upon learning her dark and troubled past is especially egregious — he rejects her utterly, considering her an imposter and a monster that destroyed the Tess he was in love with (shockingly, he addresses she is not to blame for the rape). This comes on the back of his admission that he'd had a fling with either a prostitute or a desperate christmas cake, and his being forgiven by her for it. To cut a rather depressing 'It Got Worse' story short, this sort of behavior continues until the only way she can support her family is to become the mistress of the man who raped her in the first place. When she asks the atheistic Angel if they will be together in heaven, he can't even bring himself to say yes.
    • Worthy of note, however, is the fact that this viewpoint is only espoused by characters within the novel. The novel itself was actually considered groundbreaking for not playing the trope straight in the narrative voice. The full title is, "Tess of the D'urbervilles - A Pure Woman, Faithfully Presented".
  • Hester Prynne, heroine of The Scarlet Letter, would like a word with this trope. The idea of Defiled Forever applies not only to her (guilty of adultery when her husband was believed dead), to the man that impregnated her (who tortures himself with guilt, mentally and physically), but to their illegitimate child, whom even the narration describes as acting like a demon.
    • In many interpretations, the book is a Deconstruction and/or Take That to this idea — the rather hypocritical community thrusts this interpretation onto Hester to the point that it effectively becomes true (even, in a rather magical way, affecting her child and the world around), and she does her best to disprove it, eventually largely succeeding to the point where people forget what the eponymous letter means, imagining "Angel" and "Admirable" rather than "Adultery." Subverted Reformed, but Rejected trope.
  • Fantine in Les Misérables, who never had any parents to guide her, or friends who cared enough about her to warn her, ended up pregnant and abandoned by her very first love. When word breaks out, people treat her like a prostitute until finally that's the only job she can take to save her daughter's life. As with the examples of Tess Durbeyfield and Hester Prynne, the novel is harshly critical of society's treatment of unmarried, non-virginal women (including prostitutes).
  • Averted in the Wicked Lovely series — Ink Exchange is, when you take out the faeries and magickal tattoos, about Leslie reclaiming her life and body after being raped.
    • Same with Niall, as evidenced by his comments to Leslie about how they're survivors, although in his case he would have been Defiled Forever by mortal standards, but 1200 years is a long time to get over things.
  • My Forbidden Face (an autobiography written under a pseudonym) discusses this trope, though none of the characters in the novel get raped. The main character reflects that under the Taliban, a woman being raped would be forced to marry her rapist.
  • Goethe plays with this in Faust. Margaret/Gretchen starts off as the typical Purity Sue / Satellite Love Interest popular in Goethe's time. Rumors spread when Faust knocks her up and Gretchen's Knight Templar Big Brother Valentino decides to kill her "defiler". He attacks Faust and Mephistopheles at her doorstep and promptly gets Curb Stomped. As he dies, Valentino spews abuse at his sister, setting off Gretchen's personal Trauma Conga Line which breaks the girl completely. By the time Faust returns, he finds her insane and imprisoned for having drowned their child in shame. She no longer recognizes Faust and refuses to leave, Dying Alone in the cold and dark. Goethe does, however, subvert this when God declares Gretchen "saved".
  • Completely averted in the Mercy Thompson books. Both Mercy and Anna have been raped, and while it is treated as a serious obstacle, both go on to have healthy enjoyable sex lives with their chosen mates.
    • Mercy notes that beating the hell out of her rapist helped a lot. She wonders if it will ever be a recommended therapy technique.
  • Invoked in The Monk with Antonia; her rapist's enabler cites this as a reason to kill her, and Antonia tells her suitor that she doesn't mind dying since being raped means she couldn't have married him. However, other female characters like Marguerite (who was raped by her second "husband") and Agnes (who became pregnant not only out of marriage, but while she was a nun) defy this trope and manage to have happy lives afterward; in fact, Marguerite's parents are specified as overjoyed to have her back and dissuade her from entering a convent.
  • In Battle Royale, Mitsuko didn't think this way after the first time she was raped. Unfortunately, the teacher she confided to did, and decided that since she was already ruined, he might as well rape her as well. At the book's start, she's an essentially broken individual, and a danger to everyone around her.
  • In The Joy Luck Club, one storyteller's mother is forced to become the mistress of a wealthy man after he rapes her and an evil employee of the house (who set up the rape in the first place) tells everyone what has happened and ruins the woman's reputation.
    • Subverted in Lindo's story when she was forced into an arranged marriage. She escapes it by telling her mother-in-law that she was not the woman fated for her husband, and that one of the household servants was. She "proves" this by insisting that the child she should have been impregnated with is actually being carried by said servant, claiming that she was impregnated by a ghost of an ancestor. In reality, the servant had just had an affair. The mother-in-law buys the story though, and the story ends with Lindo being sent off to live her own life while the servant marries the guy and is honored by the family, instead of ending up disgraced with an illegitimate child.
  • Anne Rice's The Feast of All Saints (and the miniseries based on it) play this trope deadly straight with Marie Ste. Marie. After her brutal gang rape, orchestrated by her sister, she returns home only to have her mother scream at her repeatedly that she is "ruined" and then attack her. When she flees the house, she goes to the only place she can think of where she will be accepted: Dolly Rose's brothel. As Dolly later says "Sometimes they go to church, and sometimes they come here." Marie herself expresses this attitude to Anna Bella, saying she belongs in the brothel and that she deserved what happened to her.
  • Invoked by Mary and Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice when Lydia elopes and endangers not only her reputation and future, but that of her entire family—Mr. Collins even goes so far as to say Lydia's death would have been a blessing in comparison. Neither of them seem to realize that pointing this out isn't helping anybody.
  • Mary Vaughn from The Neanderthal Parallax trilogy manages to avert this. While she is defiled at the start of the first book by the second one she has already consumated the relationship with her love interest, and by the third book they are onto making babies.
  • In Gone with the Wind Rhett Butler took a girl out in his carriage without a chaperone and they got held up. Even though nothing had happened between them the mere possibility that they might have done something naughty was enough for the girl's family to demand that he marry her. He refused and she was "ruined".
  • Explicitly subverted with Barra from Iron Dawn and Jericho Moon. Although she was gang-raped after running off to see the Trojan War, it's specifically stated that this wasn't the event that codified her adult life: it's when she started crafting the ax she used to hunt her attackers down that she embraced her identity as an implacable mercenary warrior.
  • Pops up in the Arthurian legend in strange places. Malory occasionally invokes this trope either through the rape of women or their willful adultery, and there is quite a bit of both. Most striking, however, is the rape by deception that Morgause uses to sleep with Arthur and beget Mordred, which is counted among Arthur's sins and failings that lead to his kingdom's collapse and his death.
    • Even worse in The Once and Future King where Morgause's rape is counted as Arthur's only sin, as he is otherwise pure, upright, wise and cosmopolitan beyond anyone else in his time, and the narrator outright states that it is this sin that seals Arthur's doom, even though he did not know he committed it (though the drowning of infants he attempts to solve the problem doesn't help). It's a really disturbing case when you stop and think about it.
    • Interestingly, this may be Hypocritical Humor if one account of Malory's life is correct.
  • More complicated than one might expect in the Judge Dee books, considering that they're set in Tang China. It is expected that women will remain virgins until married (Dee scolds one man for his laxity in policing his household when it is discovered that his daughter - a murder victim - had been carrying on an affair for some months), and commit suicide if raped, especially after marriage (even if their husband is dead; one woman hangs herself because she feels an "unchaste widow" has no other option). On the other hand, prostitutes are not considered to be ruined by their "unfortunate profession", and can expect to find a marriage with an "honest farmer" if they can get out of said profession with a suitable dowry. Furthermore, Judge Dee himself disagrees with the tradition of suicide for rape victims, and in fact ends up making one such woman his third wife.
  • Invoked and then subverted in Juanita Coulson's The Death God's Citadel. Aubage, who was marrying Ilissa for position, considers her defiled and unworthy after finding out she was raped by Vraduir. By contrast, Erezjan cares only about how it traumatized Ilissa (with whom he's genuinely in love).
  • Diyet/Hariba of Maureen McHugh's "Nekropolis" views herself as this. First because of her brother's adultery, then because she sold herself into sci-fi indentured servitude, then because she falls in love with a biological construct instead of a real human, then because she ran away from her home country and feels alien in her new country, and finally because she has sex with the aforementioned biological constuct. The reader may be a little frustrated with her at the end (and depressed) but the original setting was an ultra conservative near future Muslim country, so it makes sense.
  • The Acts of Caine gives us an interesting example. There's a religious sect of priestesses who are completely chaste virgins, to the point of dressing like men to stave off advances. If they ever give into temptation, they lose their power. If they are raped, however, they basically turn into a magic nuke. Unfortunately, they rarely survive the massive influx of power, not to mention the resulting destruction.
  • After Artemisia in The Privilege of the Sword is date-raped by her betrothed, she tells her parents and brother what happened and that she doesn't want to marry him any more and their response is basically "If you break the engagement and this gets out, you'll never get another husband".
  • In A Brother's Price, a man who has had premarital sex - or been raped - is considered this. Even if his family still accepts him, he's no longer pure, so they can't sell or swap him for a man from another family. The roots of this purity obsession come from the setting's complete subversion of STD Immunity; an STD in a married family quickly spreads to everyone and children are born dead or horribly malformed, to the point where entire families have been wiped out. A man who's been "defiled" usually ends up sold to the cribs, where he's rented out to women to poor to marry in hopes of impregnating them. A woman who's gone to a crib and/or had extramarital sex, aside from with other women, is also stigmatized for exposing herself to STDs - a noblewoman can't get marriage offers and mentions that people don't want her sitting on their chairs - but this is far more acceptable.
  • Subversion in 1632: Gretchen is kidnapped to be an unwilling Camp Follower and Sex Slave. When she is rescued by Jeff Higgins she is surprised not only that he is willing to accept her but that he loves her.
  • Song at Dawn has two contasting examples:
    • Alis believes of herself after Raymond de Toulouse rapes her and puts her naked body on display for his vassals.
    • Estela doesn't believe this of herself after a traumatic first time with a stable hand because Dragonetz is still romantically interested in her and shows sympathy for her.
  • In Stephanie Burgis's A Tangle of Magicks , Viscount Scarwood eloped with a young woman. She's ruined forever; he's still a perfectly eligible young man, having wounded her brother and suffered no injury in a duel.

    Live Action TV 
  • In Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Detective Olivia Benson has been through all kinds of horrors, physical as well as psychological, without being shown to have suffered much psychological damage. In a later season she goes undercover as an inmate and a prison guard attempts to force her into oral sex (and is stopped, not even touching her), which is pretty much her worst nightmare come true. She develops PTSD, and for the rest of the season there's an ongoing subplot about whether she will be able to keep doing her job after experiencing such a trauma.
    • Possibly deconstructed in a season 1 episode where a TV journalist goes public with her rape story in order to put it behind her. The city rallies behind her, and she is widely viewed as a hero for it. Unfortunately a Loony Fan murders her and her attackers, in the belief that her life is ruined.
    • In another episode, Olivia refuses to believe a victim who claims to have recovered psychologically from being sexually assaulted — the rest of the episode shows she hasn't (she ends up becoming a vigilante), but even before that plot twist happens, Olivia's disbelief is presented in a way that suggests that nobody ever comes to terms with being raped. This likely has a lot to do with the fact that Olivia's mother almost certainly never came to terms with being raped.
    • In yet another one, a young immigrant woman is horrified of having to admit she was raped out of fear that her brother and herself will be deported, and because she's Muslim and therefor no longer capable of finding a husband. Olivia and Casey Novak tell her that her brother doesn't have to find out, as he's more rigid about their religion than she is, but he does anyway. Rather than attack his sister, he attacks Casey, thinking she's the reason his sister isn't "clean" anymore and that by savagely beating her he's saved his family's reputation.
  • Oz: Being raped is a stain that will stay with you forever in the eyes of the other prisoners. Truth in Television.
    • Beecher manages to largely overcome it, mostly due to his vicious takedown of said rapist. After that, everyone's convinced he's nuts.
  • There was an episode in The Pretender where Jarod investigates the case of a woman who had a mental breakdown after the second time she was raped. Turned out one of her co-workers was secretly the man who raped her years ago in college. Upon meeting her as an adult, he was furious to discover that this trope has not been played and that she has a completely normal life, so he raped her again and switched her medications with anxiety-inducing drugs to make sure that this time she won't recover.
  • In the Brazilian historical Soap Opera Donha Beija, the titular character is kidnapped and raped by a powerful man, but nobody believes she was forced and instead accuses her of doing that voluntarily. Her fiancé even left her because he didn't want a "fallen woman." She ends as a prostitute as a result, a profession she uses as a way of revenge against the world. While this worked fine and dandy in the original version, when a Foreign Remake decided to "actualize" the story by just placing it in modern times... well, let's say that the backslash because of the Values Dissonance hit it hard.
  • On Dollhouse, the original Eleanor Penn was raped and left for dead as a child; she tried to get over this, even becoming a hostage negotiator so that she could prevent this from happening to others, but eventually killed herself. Fortunately, her personality in Echo winds up getting some posthumous revenge on her rapist.
    • Sierra plays with this trope—she does manage to move past both Hearns and Kinnard's treatment of her, but it's notable that even being wiped doesn't fully erase the memories.
  • In I, Claudius, Lollia, a Roman matron, commits suicide in front of her husband and friends after being defiled by the emperor Tiberius.
  • On General Hospital, a young woman traumatized by memories of being sexually abused by her mother's boyfriend became convinced that she was "bad" and "dirty". To that end, she began hanging out in seedy nightclubs, eventually becoming a stripper because she felt she wasn't good enough to be anything else. When her marriage and several other relationships subsequently fell apart, she asked her therapist point-blank if she had been so damaged by the abuse that she was unlovable.
  • A mild, Played for Laughs version from How I Met Your Mother:
    Lily: I am gonna have to walk this Earth knowing Barney has touched my boobs.
    Robin: Yeah, it stays with ya. His email reminders don't help.
  • One episode of ER concerned a teenage girl who was gang-raped by three of her boyfriend's friends. She continually blames herself for the crime and suspects her boyfriend will blame her as well and likely break up with her now that she is "defiled". He does.
  • In the pilot of Reign, this is part of a plot to prevent Mary Queen of Scots from marrying the heir to the French throne. A drug is slipped into her drink and when she falls asleep, a man slips into her room to rape her. As a rape victim she will no longer be eligible to marry the future king and the Arranged Marriage will fall through. However, she is warned not to drink the wine and when the rapist enters her room she screams and alerts the guards.
  • Rome. Lucius Vorenus has his children kidnapped and forced into slavery. By the time he finds them, the eldest is being used as a Sex Slave. Vorenus refuses to consider finding a husband for her, as he believes that no worthy husband would marry a woman who'd worked as a prostitute.
    • Jocasta is gang-raped and her father's riches confiscated by the state — as a result she's not happy that the only candidate for marriage is recently freed slave Posca. But Posca turns out to be quite adept at making money via corrupt political deals and is tolerant of his wife's ditzy ways, so it turns out quite well.
  • Downton Abbey: It's unclear exactly what happened— the episode is deep in Questionable Consent territory, and the assaulter assures her that she'll "still be a virgin for your wedding night"— but when Mary is implied to be sexually assaulted by a visiting Turkish minister, she and her mother treat it as though she had willingly "taken a lover" and is Defiled Forever and unsuitable for a proper marriage. Love Interest Matthew disagrees strenuously with this interpretation of events.

    Manhwa 
  • In He's Dedicated to Roses Mi-Mi decides to invoke the trope via setting up her rival I-Da to be gangraped by her delinquent boyfriend Hak-Yoon and his gang, and making sure Ida's friend Juh-Na and Mi-mi's own cousin Shih-Nah (who's in love with I-Da) will be Forced to Watch and thus refuse to associate with I-Da anymore. It backfires, though: not only I-Da is rescued (though her savior, Na-Ru, takes a knife to the gut and almost bleeds to death), but Hak-Yoon is captured and taken to juvie, and neither Juh-Na nor Shih-Nah abandon I-da afterwards. Since Mi-Mi is stupid enough to dump Hak-Yoon right after he's captured, things go downhill for her from then on.

    Religion and Mythology 
  • Some versions of the myth of Medusa has her getting raped by Poseidon, then, as punishment for being so tempting, she's transformed into a gorgon.
    • Quite a lot of victims of divine rape in Greek mythology were transformed or blasted by gods who were angry but couldn't take it out on the divine partner. Athena cursed Medusa because she was meant to remain a virgin as a priestess of Athena (and the act was in Athena's temple); Hera cursed many of Zeus' lovers (some of whom should be deemed rape victims).
  • Zig-zagged throughout the Old Testament of The Bible. For instance, there are several rules regarding purity and defilement. The book of Deuteronomy chapter 22, for example, demands the death penalty for various forms of sex outside marriage, but notably clears the woman if rape is proven (she was heard crying for help) or assumed (there's no way to prove she WASN'T crying for help), making this a slight yet notable aversion.
    • Reading between the lines, it is implied that this trope was, however, present in all its forms in the culture of the time: There is another law that a man who rapes a woman has to compensate her family for the reduction of the dowry they deserve for her, and, should she decide she wants this option, marry her without the option of divorce. Though modern readers would naturally see this as a horrible thing imposed on the woman, this view is contradicted by the story of Amnon and his half-sister Tamar: After Amnon lures Tamar into his rooms and rapes her, Tamar herself says to him that his rejection of her afterwards is even more evil than the rape. In other words, she thinks he now has a responsibility to marry her, likely because now no one else will. This implies that the law is meant to force the rapist to provide for his victim now that he has put her in such a terrible position culturally.
    • 2 Samuel 13:1-29. Part of the problem with Ammon is that he never even bothers to ask, even when Tamar indicates she'd be willing if Ammon goes through the proper forms (such as asking the king, their father). His kicking her out is more in the form of he got what he wanted, and doesn't want her around to remind him he did something so despicable. He boots her out without even a chance to clean up, forcing her to appear before any servant, noble, or other in her disheveled form and torn robe. Absalom (another brother) had no problem throwing this trope out the window, taking his little sister into his house and caring for her. And later killing Ammon.
    • There's nothing in the Mosaic Law that says a woman has to marry her rapist, or even rely on him for support. By law, the farmers of Israel were to leave 'gleanings', the edge of the fields, missed bits, fruit left on the branches after the first round, and other bits and pieces for widows, orphans, and other poor to gather. Women were also allowed to work for themselves in many fields.note  The marriage option was simply one of many ways to make the man responsible for his actions, as was the payment of silver to the girl's father. Reading through the laws, the penalty for rape falls on the head of the attacker. The only reason the woman would be punished is if she willingly slept with the man (or was suspected to have done so), since that broke the laws of fornication.
    • In Genesis 34, Dinah, daughter of Leah and Jacob, is raped by Sechem of the Hivite. Then the rapist demands his father Hamor (the local chieftan), get him Dinah for his wife, apparently trying to invoke 'marry me or be defiled forever'. It doesn't work. Although Jacob's sons do go overboard in revenge; Simeon and Levi, having led the slaughter, lose the possibility of being considered next in line for head of the tribe after Reuben (the eldest) loses his right.
  • In the New Testament, this trope is arguably averted—sexual immorality defiles, but not irredeemably. Paul says in the sixth chapter of 1 Corinthians that a believer's body is considered a temple of God, which is defiled when it's involved in sexual immorality. But it doesn't say defiled forever—and Paul had just said in the same chapter that some of his audience used to be "sexually immoral" before they were "washed" and "sanctified".
    • In St. Augustine's writings, this trope is averted in the case of rape. He says that if a maiden is raped and doesn't give in in spirit, then she is still a virgin just as if she wasn't raped because she did not bring the rape upon herself and she maintained her purity in mind throughout the experience.
  • Another consequence of this belief can be seen in the sainthood of women who were canonized partly or entirely for remaining virgins when people were trying to rape them or get them to marry against their will. In ancient cases like St. Agnes, this usually involves impossible miracles happening to protect them (like haing her hair grow rapidly to cover her nudity when subjected to a Shameful Strip, or having any men who approached her with lewd intentions be hurt by just trying to touch her), but a more recent (1902) and thus more literal example is Maria Goretti, an eleven-year-old Italian girl who was made a saint because she died while attempting to subdue her would-be rapist peacefully rather than let him have his way with her. On some level this can theoretically be seen as vindicating (she's a patron saint of chastity and similar things, but also of rape victims, and the defenders of her canonization often remark that the core of it comes from Plucky Girl Maria forgiving her killer as she was dying rather than anything else), but it's hard to celebrate the idea of a young child believing so strongly that being raped is a sin that she would rather die — which is assuming she even really intended to make that choice and wasn't just trying to fight back against her attacker — and equally hard to ignore the implication that if you're a girl who survives a rape, you've done something wrong, because the Church would really prefer you virginal and dead.
    • In fact, it has been theorized that Maria's sanctification in 1947 may have been the corollary of a Batman Gambit by the Italian Catholic Church to impose themselves morally to the public after World War II, having noticed that the presence of American soldiers threatened to make sexual standards more lax. Via using the image of a pre-teen girl who allegedly died to protect her virginity, the Church might have expected to make her a symbol of purity and invoke woobie feelings among local Catholics strong enough to make them return" to a more sexually "pure" life.
  • This may be the reason Lucretia of Roman mythology (and likely history) kills herself after naming her rapist. The other is that, in general, Roman nobles were required to commit suicide once their honor was sullied.
  • Lampshaded by C. S. Lewis in one essay in which he says that scandalmongers deserve it more then prostitutes.
  • Goewin, of Celtic Mythology. Her job is to hold Math fab Mathonwy's feet in her lap, since he would die otherwise. After Math is tricked into leaving, his nephews proceed to rape Goewin. When Math comes back, Goewin tells him this (his footholder must be a virgin), and he proceeds to punish his nephews by turning them into mating animals for three years. He also marries Goewin on the spot, so nobody could speak down to her since she was now a queen.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, the Brides of Ahlat are forbidden from taking lovers outside their own ranks. This even applies when they're raped, a situation which...backfired...when the Blood Queen made a deal with the Yozi and became akuma.
    • Their patron is very possessive of them, and quite reasonably expects them to be able to fight off a would-be rapist.
      • An expectation that becomes unreasonable when a mortal - even a God-Blooded one - is dealing with two Dragon-Bloods, as she was, but that conversation should probably be continued on the Jerkass Gods page...

    Video Games 
  • Subverted in Sengoku Rance with Kouhime's rape. She's heartbroken that she can't get married anymore, but Rance tells her guys like that don't count, makes fun of the rapists' small penises, and promises to marry her himself if no one else will take her.

    Visual Novels 

  • In Fate/stay night, this is an important part of Sakura's characterization. For complicated magical reasons, she's been raped daily since she was a little kid by her adopted family, and quite a few of the problems in her route arise because she desperately wants to keep Shirou from finding out. Of course, due to Shirou's own problems, he'd never be able to be upset with her over something like that, but her self-image is so low she can't even conceive of that possibility.
    • Ironically, this eventually becomes an inverted example. Her self-image begins to recover and she stops considering herself defiled, especially after she's finally convinced that Shirou's in a relationship with her out of love, not his aforementioned martyr complex. This new self-confidence carries over when Shinji attempts to rape her again. She's overcome her trauma enough to refuse him, and when he becomes violent, she resists...with unexpectedly lethal force. While there's no love lost for him, this also becomes Sakura's Start of Darkness, once The Corruption leads her to wondering why she never thought to do that before...

    Web Comics 
  • Ménage à 3: Subverted. In strip #905 (June 28, 2014; NSFW), the semi-deranged Drama Queen Yuki wakes up naked in bed with her arch-enemy and bandmate Sonya, and neither of them can remember what they're doing there. Yuki promptly accuses Sonya of doing "ecchi" things to her in her sleep, and goes into mourning for her "precious innocence." Sonya snarkily points out that, given Yuki's sexual history, this is less than rational. That triggers Yuki's Hair-Trigger Temper — and then things get slightly weird.

    Web Original 
  • Rare Male Example: The Nostalgia Critic's history of sexual abuse has given him an insane amount of problems, and he only comes out of spooning-induced muteness at the end of SWSII to sob that the experience felt like prom night all over again.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time has an episode where Finn forces a goose and a fox to kiss each other. The goose then bursts into tears while crying out that now no man will ever love her because she has been soiled. It was exactly a Does This Remind You of Anything? moment.
    • It also turns out the fox was in love with the goose, but now thinks she'll never love him back because Finn defiled their first kiss. Both examples are subverted at the end, however; the goose hooks up with the gander she loved and the fox just got over it.
    • It's also referenced when a little girl tricks Finn into committing theft. "You've soiled my purity!" Although he's able to use soap to make himself clean again.
  • King of the Hill features an episode that reveals that Hank's dad, Cotton, had a lovechild with a Japanese nurse at the end of World War II. When he returns to Japan, he finds that she had to marry an unsuccessful businessman because no respectable man would touch her due to the dishonor of bearing Cotton's illegitimate son.
  • Parodied in a Family Guy cutaway, where Peter imagines himself as a strawberry. A caterpillar starts eating his way into Peter amidst his screams. Cut to Strawberry-Peter taking a Shower of Angst:
    Peter: He was my neighbor and he violated me. Now I'll never be made into a fancy pie!
    • Another episode is about Peter freaking out when his doctor performs a rectal exam on him, believing himself to have been raped. He angrily scolds himself in the mirror, accusing himself of being sexually promiscuous.


Culture Justifies AnythingSociology TropesEthical Slut
D-Cup DistressBody Image TropesFake Boobs
Deity of Human OriginPhilosophy TropesEthical Slut
All Women Are PrudesGender Dynamics IndexDisposable Sex Worker
Day of the JackbootThe Only Righteous Index of FanaticsDemonization
Date Rape AvertedSexual Harassment and Rape TropesDouble Standard: Rape, Divine on Mortal
Declaration of ProtectionWomen Are DelicateDeliver Us from Evil
Damage-Proof VehicleTelevision Is Trying to Kill UsDestruction Equals Off Switch
Date Rape AvertedAdministrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!Double Standard: Rape, Divine on Mortal
Crushing HandshakeImageSource/Web ComicsDistracted by the Sexy

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