Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil
and a profoundly horrifying experience. It can have serious effects on the survivor's mental health
, sometimes triggering or exacerbating disorders like depression and/or leading to Sanity Slippage
, as can Attempted Rape
. Truth in Television
insofar as many victims of sexual assault have some form of PTSD, and their recovery is often hindered if the criminal is not brought to justice and/or they do not feel they have the sympathy and support of others
(close to them). That said, most victims manage to keep themselves together as they cope with the event(s) and many others regain emotional control at some stage in the recovery process — very few people actually go mad (and stay that way) as a result of being sexually assaulted. In all cases, one thing is true, however — the personality of the victim, and not the nature of the sexual assault(s)note
, determines the victim's reaction to and ability to cope with the trauma (or their lack thereof, for a lucky few
Interestingly, the assumption that this trope is true is actually deeply unhelpful. As we said, most people take sexual assault pretty calmly — so if most people believe that all victims of sexual assault are deeply unbalanced/driven insane by it, this means they think that anyone who doesn't
have this reaction (i.e. most victims) is lying.
While this isn't too great on its own, there's also the wider implications of that. If people automatically assume someone is lying if they take it calmly, then at least a few people are going to reason that they might as well not report the damned thing because no-one is going to believe them. This
is bad because it means the crime and the criminal are never investigated and, in the eyes of everyone but the victim and criminal, the crime was never committed
. Perhaps more importantly, the victim is also less likely to seek counselling for the trauma and this will let any lingering problems it stirs up, well, linger
and fester. In a way this can be something of a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
for the whole 'Rape Leads To Insanity
' thing as one would expect that lowered counselling rates would result in greater mental illness among the untreated trauma-victims.
A final problem comes back to the 'individuality' thing: there isn't a One True Path (tm
) to recovery from trauma (of any kind) — some people who "compartmentalise" the trauma or who dissociate from it (basically, they [often very successfully] avoid ever thinking about it) might benefit from therapy directed to help them acknowledge and therefore help diminish the pain and emotions of it, whereas others would expressly not
benefit from such therapy because they have the opposite problem and just can't stop thinking about it
. Yet, unfortunately, there are plenty of people willing to be judgmental about, if not sexual assault itself, the "proper" way to think about and recover from it!
Compare Shell-Shocked Veteran
(another common portrayal of PTSD), Break the Cutie
, Rape as Drama
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Anime and Manga
- Basilisk: Kagerou was never very stable to begin with, and getting raped and brutally tortured by Tenzen drove her off the deep end completely.
- In the Fullmetal Alchemist 2003 animé, it was implied that Rose was raped by Amestris soldiers. She went mute after that.
- Perfect Blue: Mima begins to lose her grip on reality after she is supposedly raped for a film during her new acting career. Or does she get raped? After this scenario is shown, we hear a bell ring and a director yell "Cut!" and the movie continues into more twists and turns.
- Casca went mute and regressed to a childlike state after a horrifying rape at the hands of her former commander turned demon god Femto during the Eclipse.
- Guts is a more mundane / less supernatural example. He Used to Be a Sweet Kid, but now he's a Byronic Hero with some serious issues that also Hates Being Touched. He became this way after he was raped as a kid — exacerbated by the fact that it came about due to betrayal by his adopted father — and it just got worse with the Eclipse where he was forced to watch the above-mentioned rape in circumstances that all but mirrored his own traumatic childhood ordeal. Let's just say that he has all the reason in the world to want Griffith dead.
- Konuma Ryuuko of Wolfen Crest. She's a nymphomaniac middle-schooler with what appears to be profound psychological damage from repeated rapes in her past, which made her a nihilistic sociopath.
- Later, Haguro tries to use gang-rape on Hot Teacher Aoshika to Break the Cutie in regards to both her and Inugami. It almost worked.
- Deadman Wonderland: One of the factors that made Genkaku Ax-Crazy was how he was raped as a teenager.
- In Black Butler II, episode 8 shows that Alois was raped by the former Lord Trancy. It's implied that this helped make him so Ax-Crazy — he's shown to have been a little off-kilter even before the event, having joked about his entire village dying and happily looted their corpses when they actually did, but his violent tendencies and compulsive promiscuity seem to date from it.
- In Black Lagoon, rape and torture is implied to have been what made Hansel and Gretel so Ax-Crazy.
- Something of an unusual case of this trope, as the rape and torture were used more to condition the children than to break their minds. Hansel and Gretel were so crazy because raping, torturing, and killing were the only ways to avoid being raped, tortured, and killed. In a horrifying (but textbook) example of operant conditioning, the constant negative reinforcement led directly to their psychotic behavior. The truly horrifying thing is that this is the natural human response.
- In Peacemaker Kurogane, Suzu becomes Ax-Crazy and a Depraved Homosexual after an old man rapes him.
- Legato Bluesummers from the Trigun manga is shown to have been raped (possibly numerous times) by the town mayor, or something like a mayor. As you might guess, he's now quite Ax-Crazy.
- Tsubaki Kasugano - The 6th of Mirai Nikki. She was kept as a mix of Sex Slave and puppet leader by a Religion of Evil.
- 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. Currently, he's clearly off his rocker.
- In School Days, Kotonoha's mental and emotional breakdown hits her fully after she's raped by her Stalker with a Crush, Makoto's best friend Taisuke.
- In Sakura Gari, a big reason Souma is so messed up and a Depraved Bisexual is because of all the rape and other trauma he endured in his past.
- In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Asuka crosses the Despair Event Horizon and ends up catatonic after her Mind Rape. By Word of God we're supposed to understand that she literally gets raped. Several dubs/scanslations have her actually say "I've been raped/violated!" and "it's raping/defiling my mind/soul!" as she's psychically tortured by the Angel.
- Much like Souma from Sakura Gari above, this is one of the reasons why Gilbert from Kaze to Ki no Uta is so utterly messed up: In his youth, he suffered rape and other kinds of trauma.
- Auguste and Rosemariné (to an extent) as well, as Auguste was raped by his stepbrother and Rosemariné was raped by Auguste when Rosemariné was fifteen.
- Hinako from Bitter Virgin was traumatised by years of sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather. This severely messed with her mental state and caused her to develop an aversion to men and Hates Being Touched except by Daisuke. She gets better through her relationship with Daisuke.
- In Fushigi Yuugi, both Miaka and Yui experience rape attempts and go through Break the Cutie processes as a result. They also believe they actually got raped at some point and experience significant periods of depression and self-harm as a result.
- In Count Cain, Augusta went insane after giving birth to her brother's Child by Rape and had to be institutionalized. When Cain, not knowing she was his mother as well as his aunt, went to visit her in secret, she freaked out and threw herself out the window. At the end of the series, we learn that this is a subversion. While Augusta really did go insane afterwards, she had been more than willing to sleep with her brother all along.
- Sensual Phrase: In the manga, Aine's raped by a high-ranked executive who had a beef against Sakuya. Poor girl nearly splinters mentally after that.
- Zigzagged all over the place in Haou Airen. Reilan was driven to bitterness and insanity after she gets gangraped by the mooks of her fiancé Hakuron's rival and forced into prostitution, and she gets so broken that she invokes the trope via setting her love rival Kurumi to be gangraped in front of Hakuron himself to specifically mess with the girl's mind. Even when Kurumi is rescued, Reilan uses this as a part of a Thanatos Gambit as well, so she gets broken anyway — but by the end, she gets somewhat better. And also, Kurumi is raped by Hakuron himself in front of a newfound friend... and that friend is the one who goes crazy instead, which leads him to ultimately shoot Hakuron dead.
- A Cruel God Reigns: In the manga, Jeremy is repeatedly raped and beaten by his step-father, Greg Roland, which eventually drives him to tamper with Greg's car, killing him. For the rest of the series, Jeremy is haunted by images of Greg talking to him, leading him to become a drug addict and a prostitute in an attempt to forget.
- Angel Sanctuary: Sevotharte, a.k.a. Lailah was raped by jealous co-workers, which led to... several bits of nastiness.
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni:
- The CSI: Crime Scene Investigation fanfic "Face the Music" by Elm22. Granted, part of Grissom's mental affliction was the torture that went with the rape, but the rape still played a big part in the problems he struggled with.
- Light in the Death Note fanfic "Broken"
- Maka and admittedly Soul in the Soul Eater fanfiction "Scars and Stitches".
- Gamzee in Hivefled, sort of. There are definitely other factors involved (such as the non-sexual torture that accompanied it, building up an immunity to sopor slime, and highbloods tending to be a little 'off' anyway), but the rape really isn't helping things.
- In the classic silent film The Wind, Lillian Gish, who is already being driven around the bend by the neverending titular wind, finally cracks completely when the bad guy rapes her.
- The sister of the Anti Heroine in the Dirty Harry sequel Sudden Impact becomes catatonic after the two of them are gang-raped.
- Subverted in The General's Daughter. It turns out that it wasn't her brutal gang rape during military school that lead to the late Elisabeth Campbell's Sanity Slippage. The betrayal of her General father, who refused to investigate the crime further because he thought they wouldn't be able to apprehend the suspects and because he allowed himself to be bought out by his own superiors, was the event that broke her mind and sent her into a downward spiral.
- Most Rape and Revenge films, though some victims (like the ones in Torched and Baise Moi) go a bit more violently psychotic than others, their newfound bloodlust not being restricted to just their rapists.
- Elizabeth Hurley's character in My Favorite Martian.
- Some theories about Mulholland Dr. argue that childhood abuse may have attributed to the heroine's high dream of becoming an actress which ultimately ended in failure and depression.
- In La Piel Que Habito, Norma's (near) rape left her in a traumatic state where she wouldn't even recognize her father anymore and which ultimately made her commit suicide.
- In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Judge Turpin drugged Barker's wife and raped her. Afterwards, he dumps her in the streets where she became a crazy lady.
- The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant has this as a major theme. Covenant rapes a girl early in his first visit to The Land, and it haunts him throughout the ensuing stories. Part of the consequences is that Lena (the girl) definitely loses it because of the rape.
- Tender Is the Night: Nicole's sexual relationship with her father when she was a teenager (hence statutory rape) leads to her becoming schizophrenic.
- Speak: The book centers around a teenager named Melinda, who's just entered the 9th grade. She's not exactly the most popular kid in school, due almost entirely to her calling the police at a Wild Teen Party last summer. After the events of said party, Melinda goes from a bright, outgoing, friendly teenager to a bitter, angry, depressed one. Her grades go down the toilet, her parents are alarmed, and Melinda can't find the words to tell anyone what really happened; eventually, she stops speaking almost entirely. The plot mostly centers around Melinda's gradual decline, up until The Reveal of how she was raped by Andy, and then her gradual climb out of the hole.
- Nimue in The Warlord Chronicles wasn't the most stable person around to begin with, but her rape at the hands of King Gundleus pushed her over the edge. When she got over the worst trauma, she was actually grateful in a way, as a great priestess must pass through three severe trials on their path to true power according to her beliefs, and the rape counted for two of them. But it doesn't prevent her from exacting revenge brutal enough to make battle-hardened warriors cringe when she gets Gundleus in her hands.
- In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Charlie's aunt was raped as a young girl, which led to her having serious psychological issues, which is why she herself molested Charlie.
- Justified in Codex Alera, in which Odiana was driven mad by being raped while wearing a discipline collar just as her powers as The Empath were coming in. Being forced to feel pleasure, both due to the discipline collar and being able to feel what her rapists were feeling broke her mind, and left her the Ax-Crazy Psycho for Hire Ophelia she is today.
- In the second book of The Sword of Truth series, a queen (Kahlan's sister) is left in a prison for a few days with several criminals. She is rescued right before an execution. At first, she's catatonic, then suicidal, then she seems to recover, but ends up incapable of fighting the very enemies who threw her in the prison.
- Zarate Arkham in Daniel Gonzalez’s horror novel Un grito en las tinieblas was raped by her father, causing her several psychological problems and was submitted once in a mental institution. This is a major plot in the novel.
- Nadine Cross become catatonic after being forcibly impregnated by Randall Flagg in The Stand.
- Jan from Days of Our Lives was an Alpha Bitch before she was raped. Afterwards, she turned crazy.
- In Oz, Beecher's rape at the hands of Schillinger definitely didn't do any favors for his mental health.
- Same deal with Cyril.
- Adebisi brutally rapes the semi-conscious Schibetta at one point. As a result, Schibetta, traumatized by the rape, begins losing his mind and is transferred to the psych ward.
- "Revenge", the very first story on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, played on this idea without using the R word. A woman already recovering from a nervous breakdown is "assaulted" in her trailer. Her husband looks to avenge her by killing her assailant. One day, she points the man out to her husband, and he does the deed. Then she points to another man, and another, and another.
- Darcy from Degrassi The Next Generation is date raped at a party and later contracts Chlamydia. Afterword, what was originally an innocent Christian school girl quickly loses her mind and pretty much becomes a ticking time bomb of hell. She slices her wrists, nearly slices her neck (before cutting off a chunk of her hair), and even lies to the school administrators that a teacher who was trying to help her through it all had molested her, resulting in his suspension. She even becomes a total whore before almost killing herself again.
- An episode of Law & Order: SVU has probably the most justified version of this ever seen. The victim of the week was an ordinary woman with an ordinary job and dreams and the like until she was assaulted several years in the past by the Villain of the Week. The aggressor was never caught, but she moved on, went to college, and had just about graduated when the same man found her and assaulted her again, having tracked her down using a stolen driver's license he had taken the first time he attacked her. As far as the after-assault investigation went, same result. Far more traumatized this time, she moved across the country, slowly recovered, got engaged, and was just a couple weeks away from being married... when the same man tracked her down again. The stress and trauma eventually broke apart her engagement and the victim became a total recluse, working from home, having groceries delivered, not leaving her apartment more than once a month if she could possibly help it, and basically dealing with a full dose of the most High Octane Paranoia Fuel imaginable... until during the one day she absolutely had to leave her home for something work-related, the man finds her yet again, this time beating her bloody in the process, which is what leads into the start of the episode. As it happens, the villain was a successful travelling executive who had a collection of these women across the country, who used their stolen IDs to track them down and assault them repeatedly until he became the first thing they think of when they wake up and the last thing they think of when they go to sleep, feeding his ego with the idea that every minute of their lives revolves around what he's done to them and what he'll eventually do again. Even for SVU villains, he is quite beyond the pale.
- Brother Justin has this effect on several young women in Carnivŕle. It's implied to be at least partially due to his nature as the Anti Christ, although there are also visible bruises showing that physical abuse is also part of it.
- The Outer Limits 1995 did an episode where a woman is raped/assaulted as a teen and grows up to be a mentally-unbalanced scientist who builds a time machine and uses it to go back and execute serial killers before they target anyone. Her ensuing Ripple Proof Memory does not help with her onoging mental stability.
- In the Three Days Grace music video "Never Too Late", a woman is almost driven to suicide (she works through her issues, though), and we learn that she became that way as a result of possible physical and sexual abuse at the hands of a man in a striped sweater.