A person nearly rapes another person. The first person then takes a step back, goes into My God, What Have I Done? mode, and reacts with horror. They often run from the scene. Basically, it's the realization that "If I keep going now, I will have raped this person." In return, the near-rape victim is always badly shaken, but often forgives their attacker later because they had the self-control to stop. Forgiveness is a lot less likely in Real Life.
This trope also covers other My-God-I-am-nearly-a-rapist situations, such as drunk people stepping back just in time, and reluctantly paying attention when your partner says no.
Keep in mind that this is not about remorse or guilt after the act, but the attacker must stop of their own free will (although a varying degree of persuasion on behalf of the potential victim is allowed), not as a result of being fought off or somebody else stopping them. Contrast Date Rape Averted, Attempted Rape, Dude, She's Like in a Coma.
open/close all folders
Used loosely in a British cautionary advert where a young teen watches himself through a glass window as he forces sex on his struggling girlfriend, at that point convinced she wants it. The teen is banging on the glass, crying, and shouting "You're raping her!" at his other self, who cannot hear. The advert ends with the warning, "If you could see yourself..."
Anime & Manga
Done twice virtually identically by Rumiko Takahashi, in the one-shot Fire Tripper and in a very early episode of Maison Ikkoku. In both cases, the male lead is very drunk and basically tries to pull the old Gone with the Wind sweep her up and carry her to his room bit. In neither case was the relationship at that level at the time; both female leads are a mixture of scared, worried, (slightly) touched and quite angry. In both cases our boy passes out before things get too scary, which frees the object of his "affection" to get really annoyed/angry/disgusted. Both times, our hero remembers nothing about the incident the next morning, which really gets them in trouble.
Also happens in Simoun. In this case, the woman about to commit rape is forgiven by the victim, and they later begin their relationship anew as close friends.
A poignant scene like this happens in Rose of Versailles: Upon hearing Oscar choosing to live as a man in the navy, her ward Andre, who at this point is going blind due to an injury, tries to rape her. It's when he rips Oscar's shirt off and she starts crying that he stops. He even confesses his feelings for her after that.
Subverted in Ouran High School Host Club when Kyouya pretends he's about to rape Haruhi to teach her that bad things could happen to her if she acts recklessly. She doesn't buy his act and calls his bluff.
Subverted in Gankutsuou when a character nearly rapes his fiancee but stops not because of a My God, What Have I Done? revelation, but because he simply decides to pick up where he left off after they're lawfully married. However, it's never clearly stated whether he actually succeeded or not the first time around.
Karakuridouji Ultimo: After being screwed by a Reincarnation Romance-slash-Gender Bender leaving him loving someone who now sees him solely as a best friend, Rune partners with the embodiment ofJealousy and attempts to rape Yamato so that Yamato will love him back. He stops at the last minute though, realising he's too attached to Yamato to really go through with something horrible just to sate his own jealousy.
The main character in Mysterious Girlfriend X acts this way after he gets a bit carried away after his girlfriend gave him permission to touch her breast seen here.
In Moe Kare, Arata brings a—nearly unconscious—drunk Hikaru to his apartment. He has her in his bed, mostly undressed, before realizing that he doesn't want her to cry the next morning.
In the film version of The Sheik, the male protagonist intends to rape his female counterpart, but when he oversees her crying and praying he doesn't actually go through with it.
In the second film of the Samurai Trilogy, Miyamoto Musashi nearly forces himself on his Screaming Woman / Neutral Female love interest, Otsu. She doesn't want it, and Musashi carries on well past the point where its clear she doesn't want it. He catches himself before he actually does it, though. He is so ashamed and disgusted with himself that (after running away from Otsu) he quietly says "I renounce the love of women" and walks off into sunset (and the credits), marking his Character Development from an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy to a zen Martial Pacifist.
In Don Juan DeMarco, the title character relates a tale where he's sold to the lusty Sultana Gulbeyaz. He resists her overtures, and for a few seconds she seems prepared to use violent means (a knife at his throat) to force his cooperation. But then she opts to try tactile persuasion instead (it works.)
In the pre-Hays Code drama She Had to Say Yes, Loretta Young's character is nearly raped by her boyfriend when he suspects she's a "loose woman". After she stops resisting and asks if that's all she means to him, he stops himself. Then, not only does she forgive him, she ends up offering herself to him in the end.
In Eden Log, the man almost rapes the botanist when he hallucinates that they are making love. He pulls back when he realizes what is actually happening.
In Withnail and I, Uncle Monty is about to force himself on the protagonist, before the protagonist lies and claims to be in a secret relationship with Withnail, which causes Monty to have a sudden attack of conscience.
A variation is used in Schindler's List. Nazi Captain Amon Goeth develops a creepy infatuation for his Jewish maid, and makes an abortive attempt to force himself on her while she's standing motionless and frightened in a wet shirt. He stops himself, but not on any moral grounds; he accuses her of "seducing him" because he considers her an inferior, and beats her senseless instead.
The Storm and the Splendor has such a scene, although Rud makes it clear soon afterward that he has a very loose definition of "willing."
In P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, Ganth, half-crazy, almost rapes his seven-year-old daughter Jame, before he realizes what he's about to do and runs from her. The memory of this is told in flashbacks in book 4, To Ride a Rathorn, and in the short story collection Blood and Ivory: A Tapestry.
This happens at least once in The Last of the T'En, where the main male character is once possessed by something evil and nearly rapes the heroine, but realizes what he's doing and stops 'himself' from doing it, and also in a rather dodgy scene in her bedroom. Both times he says, "I'm not really like that," or some variation of the theme...
A very drunk Sandor Clegane pins Sansa Stark down on her bed and makes her sing him a song. He leaves before going any farther, but later admits to her little sister that he had indeed intended to rape Sansa and possibly regrets not doing so. Making things more complex is the fact that Sandor had previously saved Sansa from a mobintent on raping her during a riot, and the fact that Sansa seems to like her memory of this incident.
And again with Sansa and Tyrion. Only after making her strip does he realize that going through with it would be rape. Since this all takes place in the Crapsack World of Westeros, him not taking his (twelve-year-old) wife by force is seen as a magnanimous gesture rather than simply coming to his senses.
Marino almost rapes Scarpetta in one of Patrica Cornwell's later books. Because he under the influence of some strange drug at the time, Kay forgives him. No one else (including Marino himself) does the same after and several subsequent books bring it up, usually when someone is trying to discredit Marino or imply Kay goes too easy on him.
Spike nearly raping Buffy, probably assuming her protests are part of another round of aggressive and forceful sex play.
Creepier version in "Consequences", when Faith almost rapes Xander, then stops herself - opting just to kill him instead.
In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will tries to trick his girlfriend into bed after she tells him she wants to be celibate until marriage by setting up a fake wedding ceremony for the two of them. He later backs down after the guilt sets in.
In the first season of Sugar Rush, Kim is so desperate to bed Sugar that she even considers date-raping her, going so far as to invite Sugar over for the evening and preparing a huge stash of pills with which she intends to use to drug Sugar. However, she spends the whole episode debating to herself whether what she's doing is right or wrong, and eventually decides against it, feeling horribly guilty.
On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in Season 15, serial rapist/murderer William Lewis nearly rapes Olivia Benson twice. The first time he is interrupted (and thus not the trope), but the second time he changes his mind at the last possible moment; he anticipates Olivia trying to resist his assault and when she remains mute and refuses to resist his advances, he is displeased and backs off although Lewis decides not to rape her, what he decides to do next proves to be just as traumatic.
On One Life to Live, Todd is literally this close to raping his wife Blair (he's infuriated at having discovered that she lied to him about being pregnant to get him to marry her and to get her hands on his money) when he looks down at her and sees not her face, but that of his previous victim.
A drunken Shane nearly forces himself on Lori in "TS-19", until her resistance makes him stop and think about what he was doing.
In "The Dead Come Knocking", the Governor forces Maggie into a Shameful Strip and forces her down as if to rape her. When she makes clear that it won't break her, he stops.
Another of Shakespeare's comedies, Pericles, Prince of Tyre, has a 15-year-old girl kidnapped by pirates and sold to a brothel. Clients pay to have their way with her but she is so virtuous, they repent and become upstanding, respectful citizens.
Shakespeare's comedic Two Gentlemen of Verona nearly ends in tragedy when one of the titular gents decides in a fit of frustration that he'll force his beloved (who is in love with the other gent) to love him by raping her. Gent #2 shows up and talks him down before anything happens.
During one chapter of ef - a fairy tale of the two., Kuze tries to rape Mizuki to make her want to stay away from him. He doesn't go through with it at the very last minute, but it scares her pretty badly; Kuze becomes disgusted with himself shortly afterward, and gets a karmic heart attack while wangsting.
The TsukihimeVisual Novel, several times. At one point, a glimpse into Arc's own mystic eyes switches Shiki into Rape Mode. If you don't immediately stop when given the option, you suffer an unrelated Karmic Death not long after. Shiki also nearly (or actually) rapes Kohaku, depending on the route. Like with the above example, actually going through results in a Karmic Death.
Nicole: As far as Love Interests go, a variation occurs toward the end of Jeff's route; in this case, it's not a sudden realization of what he's doing, but rather that he never intended to do it in the first place. He just wanted to make Nicole hate him by scaring the hell out of her. Not that it makes it much better, but at least the intent was never there — no matter how she reacts, he'll back down. Hell, the best way to shut him up is to dare him to do it, which gives a +5 boost to the relationshipnote THIS IS NOT RECOMMENDED IN REAL LIFE. The implication is that as much as he wanted to scare her off, what he needed was to hear that she knew him well enough to know that it was all bullshit. Still, the scene is genuinely creepy and frightening and wrong on every level, and it's played that way. Nicole shivers when he first touches her and she realizes what he's doing, but it's from nerves, not any kind of enjoyment or desire. At no point during the scene does she feel anything besides fear and, once she realizes his true intent, severe annoyance and anger.
J.R. Rizzolo's torture of Laeil Burbank almost starts out with a rape scene, but then Riz decides it'd be a better idea to cut out her eye instead. This was due to Riz' handler planning a rape scene, but deciding at the last minute that he wasn't up for it.
Protectors of the Plot Continuum: PPC exorcisms in rapefics almost always happen just in the nick of time to prevent the rape, for reasons of dramatic tension. The rapist characters tend to react with horror upon realising what the badfic was making them do.
The original tale has Kaito spike a cup of wine and gets Miku to drink it and pass out. In some versions, he then attempts to rape her but stops when the sight of her brings up their childhood memories together, followed by her waking up and telling him she loves him, waking up and killing him, or never waking up at all due to overdose or poisoning.
In other versions, Miku was either awakened early or never drugged. In these versions, Kaito corners her and hesitates or at least ties her up before the scene pans away.
There are yet other versions with Gakupo in place of Kaito or both replaced by Len and Rin respectively.