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The Women Are Safe With Us
That much, at least, his wife and daughters had been spared. Spared, because by good fortune their own house had been seized by Rajputs during the sack, not Ye-tai or common soldiers. A Rajput cavalry troop, commanded by a young Rajput lord. A cold man, that lord; arrogant and haughty as only a Rajput kshatriya could be. The Rajputs had stripped their home of everything of value, down to the linen. Had then eaten all the food, and drank all the wine. But when the inevitable time came, and the cavalrymen began eyeing their captured women, the Rajput officer had simply said: "No."

The tendency of movies to depict the villain's associated armies, tribes, barbarian hordes, and bands of mercenaries as being prone to raping the women of a town they're overrunning, while the armies, tribes, barbarian hordes, and mercs that are working for the hero are usually innocent of this particular atrocity.

It would preclude all audience sympathy to portray a heroic character as having a tolerance (or even worse, a taste) for forcing himself on captive women. A protagonist may have other character flaws; may plunder the enemy's gold, burn the enemy's crops, torch the enemy's buildings, or visit bordellos, but in most stories, there will be no rape or tolerance of it in his outfit. Rape will be forbidden, and malefactors will be dealt with.

Movies that involve historical generals, chiefs, or warlords will generally treat it as a given that they didn't tolerate such things, unless such leaders are the villains of the work. Sometimes the all-too-common occurrence of officers who did disapprove being limited in their ability to control their men will be shown, since it still leaves the hero sympathetic.

Although we'd never tolerate it from a hero, rape remains one of the many depraved types of behavior we may expect from a villain. Villains being villains, rape while pillaging will still be the order of the day when the evil enemy soldiers attack a village full of protagonists, and will be used to underline exactly how ruthless and vile The Enemy is. Individual mooks might be above this, but an army full of them... not so much.

Often a case of Values Dissonance. Behavior that was often tolerated or even approved strikes us as horrifying and disgusting and gets reserved only for the villains.

Also possibly symptomatic of The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. Whichever side we, the audience, are supposed to identify with is simply going to be assumed not to do that sort of thing, whatever their attitude to other atrocities.

Too many aversions go to the opposite extreme, painting whatever era or world they're set in as a No Woman's Land Crapsack World, which is an oversimplification at best, sometimes outright Demonization. Modern audiences like to be told that they're much more civilized than their ancestors, even if their ancestors have to get varying degrees of Historical Villain Upgrade in the process. History itself is often taught this way, as well, because it's useful to whatever ideology dominates an educational system to try and show how much better the ideology has made things since the Bad Old Days.

This trope is not going anywhere. There's no shame in audiences demanding minimal standards of conduct from characters courting their support, and writers are wise to remember this. Having pirates that act like pirates, or Vikings that act like Vikings would alienate the audience, which is something to be avoided with far more care than historical inaccuracy. Even history buffs that sneer at inaccurate diet or clothing styles may cringe.

Black Comedy may invoke Aren't You Going To Ravish Us?

See also Politically Correct History and Historical Hero Upgrade. Subversions often involve Historical Villain Upgrade, Crapsack World, No Woman's Land.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Media in General 
  • Though it's popular to portray the Middle Ages as No Woman's Land, it's not a full and accurate depiction of history. War-rape was forbidden, along with looting and massacre of civilians, by the Peace of God edicts of the Catholic Church. Feudal armies often had poor discipline, and the Peace's sanctions were sometimes difficult to enforce, but the same is true of modern armies and enforcement of the Geneva Conventions. Rape was always a crime in peacetime. Though charges could be difficult to prove and the powerful could often bribe their way out of trouble, such problems are hardly unique to medieval Europe. The Late Middle Ages did see a resurgence of all the things the Peace had tried to curtail; the professional, mercenary armies that came to dominate the battlefield operated largely outside the code of feudal war, and had little stake in the lands they fought in. In medieval wars against non-Christians, rape, along with massacre and looting, was often denounced as contrary to Christian principles (non-believers still being in the image of God and, pragmatically, much more likely to convert if treated well), but the penalties of the Peace of God weren't usually applied to crimes against pagans or Muslims. One exception, contrary to what the trope named after them might indicate, was The Knights Templar, who considered the Peace of God to apply equally against all enemies.
    • Christians often gave pagan raiders, especially Vikings and other Germanic tribes, a Historical Villain Upgrade in this regard, to justify stamping out pagan culture. Most evidence now points to women actually being considered "off-limits" during conflict. Taking a woman as a slave was acceptable, but even slaves were protected from rape or injury by Germanic tribal law. As with the Peace of God fear of both mortal and divine retribution didn't always prevent this from happening during the heat of the moment, but it was recognized as cruel and unusual. The 2004 King Arthur film attempted to portray Germanic laws against war-rape, although it gave such laws an equally inaccurate "racial purity" justification.
  • Although writers (especially modern ones) like to play up their more salacious aspects, Rome, and to an extent Greece, actually disapproved of war rape...of freewomen. Slaves didn't have the right to refuse sex, and thus raping a slave was not technically a crime. Roman citizens could consider any slave woman free game, but took relatively few women when enslaving a conquered tribe. note  Women not taken as war spoils retained the rights of freewomen under the lex gentilis, including the right to press rape charges—though Roman law generally preferred to pay off victims rather than punish offenders.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Played straight, subverted and averted in Blade of the Immortal. Played straight when the villains from the Itto-ryu are explicitly allowed by Anotsu, their leader, to rape Rin's mother (but not Rin herself, as "raping children shows no class"). Subverted when Magatsu, a member of the Itto-ryu, tries to stop the other men from doing so. Averted when, much later on, Manji and Rin temporarily join forces with Shira, from the Mugai-ryu. Raping and torturing innocent prostitutes was one of the things that made Rin, Manji and the reader realise that Shira won't be on the heroes' side for long.
  • Wolfgang Mittenmeyer in Legend of Galactic Heroes has made it one of his main principles to maintain this trope whenever possible. He caught the eye of his future superior Reinhart von Lohengramm when he executed a noble-born soldier under his command for the crime of war rape. We later get to see him repeat this during the Phezzan occupation, where he instates — and enforces — a strict policy of death by firing squad to any occupation forces caught doing this.
  • Played with several times in Fist of the North Star: while being the most iconic villains of the show, Shin and Raoh are also chivalrous to a fault and try to win Yuria's affection without touching her. Another villain, Yuda, keeps a harem of slave girls but does not rape any, although his case is special. On the good guys' side, Yuuda is a handsome, lecherous Magnificent Bastard who frequently raids slave caravans to take the girls to his pleasure palace... except if they ask to go home, in which case he will even give them food for the trip.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, Tasuki's men attack the protagonists, but (unlike other bandits in the series) have no interest in raping Miaka or taking her to sell as a Sex Slave. They do take notice of Hotohori and Nuriko, but even then don't attack them sexually. Tasuki nearly rapes Miaka while possessed in one of the OV As, but is able to stop himself...and feels deeply ashamed for doing so.

    Comicbooks 
  • During his days in Vietnam, Frank Castle took a very dim view of any of his men raping enemy women. In one major instance during Born miniseries from the MAX imprint, he put a bullet into the head of the VC sniper that one of his men was raping, telling him, "No rape. We're here to kill the enemy." Said rapist would ultimately get drowned under Castle's boot as punishment.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Actually inverted to a degree in the Command & Conquer fan-novelization Tiberium Wars, where the Brotherhood of Nod considers rape — especially of prisoners of war — to not only be a serious criminal offense, but one punishable by summary execution. This is shown when a Nod soldier tries to rape a female GDI prisoner, only to have a member of the Black Hand smash down the door, beat the would-be rapist's head against the wall before throwing him out a window, and having the rapist's friends executed for letting it happen.

    Films 
  • 1962's The 300 Spartans has the evil (from the POV of the movie) King Xerxes order that his soldiers on the campaign be given one last night with their wives, then the women are to be killed. Yes, women from his side. "There are plenty of women in Athens and Sparta and I want my men to be eager to get at them". Perhaps the audience wasn't quite sure he was the villain of the movie yet. How the Spartans treated the enemy women is of course not discussed.
  • Both Dances with Wolves and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves have brief, PG-13 references to this. Enemy warriors attack the protagonist's village (Pawnee tribe in DWW, Celt marauders in RH). Each contains a quick scene where a helpless female villager is at the mercy of a clothes-ripping invader, who is immediately shot dead by a friendly. Dances With Wolves neither asks nor answers the question of how well behaved the Sioux would be attacking a Pawnee camp.
    • Apparently, relatively well-behaved, as long as older men were around (this was actually the case in most of European history from at least Christian times, too—war-rape was more a matter of poor discipline than Values Dissonance, since Christian ethics, like Jewish ethics and most accounts of Sioux ethics, did not approve of rape even of enemies). The Sioux rapes during the Dakota War seem to be from a breakdown of discipline (starvation tends to do that), but apparently they considered several of their neighbors to be barbarians for doing it routinely. They (like the Jews and often the Christians) did practice marriage-by-capture, though.
    • The Sioux and Pawnee were long-standing enemies. Actually, nobody liked the Pawnee. Capturing virgins from neighboring tribes and marrying them off to the Morning Star didn't help. This stopped in 1840, but it should be noted that the U.S. was allied with the Pawnee.
  • Both played straight and averted in 1960's Spartacus. The gladiator students (who are slaves) are, as a perk, given women (also slaves) to spend the night with. Varinia meekly prepares to go through with it, her sense of dignity long since subjugated by her survival instinct. But Sparty, being the hero, will have none of it - especially since his owners are leering to watch the show. Whether he's reluctant to take advantage of Varinia, simply appalled by the idea of performing for an audience, or both is not made 100 % clear. Averted slightly, in that the other women with the other gladiators are almost certainly being ravished. In spite of this, the other gladiators later form Spartacus' army, and retain audience sympathy.
  • 1995's Braveheart featured the occupying English attempting to rape Murron in her town. Later in the movie, Wallace's army of Scots attack and sack the city of York. The head of the city's lord is sent back to London. The audience is left to draw their own conclusions as to how the Scots treated the other townsfolk of York.
  • In the 1999 movie The Messenger, Joan's sister is murdered and raped (in that grisly order) by the (from the POV of the story) villainous English knight. Presumably when the French knights invaded a town they were under better discipline (although they could have hardly been under worse!)
    • There's no record, by the bye, of that having happened — and when you're giving the English in the Hundred Years War a Historical Villain Upgrade, you're really laying it on thick.
    • One of Joan's bodyguards, Gilles de Rais (played by Vince Cassell in this film) was later executed as a serial killer and rapist of children, though apparently none of these crimes were (apparently) perpetrated until years after the events of the movie.
  • Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies embraces every stereotype of a pirate... yet somehow, we know that because he's a "good" character the women he comes across are pretty well safe.
    • Even the antivillainous Barbossa abides by this... up to a point. When Elizabeth rejects his No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine proposal, he says that the alternative is to dine with the crew, and without the dress he was offering her.
    • Barbossa seems to have a curious reverence for women (and for what he's pleased to term "heathen gods"); observe his behavior with Tia Dalma in the later movies. Doesn't seem to stop his men from harassing servants and maids when they raid Port Royal, though.
  • The 2004 movie Troy, both supports and avoids this trope, depending on how much we're supposed to identify with the character. Achilles' nameless soldiers behave the way you might expect an ancient army to towards Trojan captive Briseis (not well). Achilles' lieutenant, Eudorus also sees her as a prize to be enjoyed by his boss, and is not chastised for his attitude. Agamemnon, being the dastard of the film, naturally feels the same way. Audience-courting Achilles however, is shown to be respectful of Briseis. The script takes pains to show that sex between them is consensual. Achilles even rescues her from rape at the hands of his men (out of altruism, it seems, not jealousy). OTOH, in Homer's The Iliad, Briseis is seized by Achilles and later Agamemnon as a prize. Her consent, or lack thereof, is not treated as a concern either way.
    • Achilles constantly refers to Briseis as his wife and bride, indicating it's of some concern to him (though they had weird attitudes about rape, Greeks generally thought taking a love-interest purely by force was unkind — Plato thought it was one of the things that made Zeus a Jerkassnote . That her feelings might not be a concern to Agamemnon seems to be a part of why he's angry Agamemnon took her, and why it's very important Agamemnon swears he never touched her, when he gives her back. They were fighting a war over that kind of thing, after all.
    • In the myth, Achilles isn't all that interested in raping Briseis either, or really doing anything with her until she is taken away by Agamemnon. She was Achilles' honour gift, taking her back was a major insult, and Achilles was very upset about the insult, but not so much about the presence of the actual person. Furthermore, high ranking female captives were mainly used as a display of power in Homers epics, and their duties involved such things as serving wine to guests.
  • 1985's Flesh & Blood brutally avoids this trope. A slimy nobleman cheats a band of mercs led by Rutger Hauer. It looks like it's going to be old-fashioned revenge flick until Rutger & Co capture and gang rape the betrothed of the nobleman's son. The fact that said woman seems to enjoy the Anti-Hero's attention is all that saves him from being a the undisputed bad guy of the flick (for the story's purpose, that is. This does not and ought not fly in real life). It quickly becomes an open question of who to cheer for then.
    • She pretends to enjoy it solely in order to get the protection of Rutger's character against his fellow soldiers.
  • Clumsily handled in the MST3K-fodder movie Deathstalker, which contains a scene where the antihero forces himself on a female character, presumably to show that he isn't all that good.
  • The Magnificent Seven. The villagers hide their women because they're afraid the hired guns will rape them. Yul Brynner's character acknowledges that their fears are not entirely unjustified (not all gunslingers being as noble as the seven, after all) but opines that "you might have given us the benefit of the doubt." In Seven Samurai, a father is so terrified that his daughter will be raped by the Samurai that he cuts off her hair to disguise her as a boy.
  • Captain Blood: Blood's ship has it as an explicit rule that no one will mistreat any woman, nor take them prisoner in the first place. He kills one of his partners over it.
  • The Clive Owen King Arthur movie uses a twist on this trope; the good Roman knights don't rape. The villainous Saxons are shown attempting to rape a woman but the Big Bad stops them, arguing they shouldn't dilute their bloodline. One of the soldiers claims it's his right, and is stabbed for his trouble. The Big Bad then kills the woman. Whether this is meant as a hate crime or because he knew he couldn't protect the woman for long is left ambiguous.
  • In Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Lo uses this to convince Jen that he's not a bad guy. It doesn't work at first.
  • This is a plot point in the 2007 film The Warlords, with Jet Li.

    Literature 
  • The A Song of Ice and Fire series, which painfully deconstructs everything else about medieval style life and the stereotypical Knight in Shining Armor, hits this one as well. Soldiers from every army involved in the War of the Five Kings are shown engaging in various atrocities, including, quite frequently, rape — regardless of whether they support the protagonists or not. A few nobles have edicts against their men raping, (most notably Daenerys Targaryen, who is a woman herself and took a number of eunuchs into her army because they couldn't rape, and Stannis Baratheon, who embodies Honor Before Reason), but they are the exception to the rule. Rape is, however, a crime outside of times of war, and rapists without the fortune of noble blood are shown as having a choice between castration and serving with the Night Watch. Highborn rapists go scot-free, though, and marital rape isn't even considered a crime.
    • In the real medieval world, though they had no concept of marital rape, taking your "conjugal rights" by force was seen as mistreating your wife, sometimes even as blasphemy against the sacrament of marriage. It could sometimes be grounds for a civil divorce (like other kinds of abuse), though it varied by region, being a matter of civil law rather than Church law.
    • Largely averted with the Ironborn, who have a general philosophy that Might Makes Right leading to a lot of Deliberate Values Dissonance (but then, none of them are particularly "heroic"). They consider murder and theft more honourable than trade, and the forcible kidnap of "wives" as the prerogative of any conqueror.
    • Jaime Lannister has a man beheaded after discovering that he's a rapist, much to the man's confusion as multiple people had raped the same woman.
  • In the 1632 books a town in modern Virginia is transported to Germany during the 30 Years War, were most of the armies involved were rapist mercenaries. Though their guns give them the advantage they are smaller in number, so they eventually have to recruit captured enemies into their army despite knowing many of them are rapists. However, they're mostly able to keep the mercenaries in control and Gretchen, a former slave for the mercenaries, lets them know who did the worst raping and pillaging so they can be executed or exiled.
  • The short story 'The Women of our Occupation', by Kameron Hurley, subverts this. Read more here http://www.strangehorizons.com/2006/20060731/women-f.shtml
  • The Sword of Truth series has every. single. bad guy. be a rapist. For example the books constantly point out that Jagang's (the villain) army is full of rapists. We couldn't even begin to guess how many times it's mentioned that some soldier or soldiers are/were raping women and children. The armies of the good guys, on the other hand, are super professional and would never rape anyone.
    • This is deliberately invoked by Richard once he becomes Lord Rahl. In the first book, it's mentioned that D'Haran soldiers practiced this, among other unsavory 'victory celebrations'. When Richard takes over, however, he puts an end to it, and actually gets some protest from his commanders saying that the soldiers have become accustomed to the, um, 'perks' of being a conquering army, and some of them aren't going to like losing them. Richard's response to this is along the lines of, "Well, that's just too bad then."
  • One of the Star Wars Expanded Universe books, Tales Of The Bounty Hunters, has a short story about Leia in her metal bikini being shoved into Boba Fett's room for the night, since Jabba wants to give his bounty hunter something extra. Fett gives her the bed, leans against the wall, and tells her that sex before marriage is immoral, the Rebellion is morally wrong, and Han Solo is worse than he is because Solo smuggles spice.
    • Yes, Boba Fett, working for Jabba the Hutt, the guy who Han was smuggling spice for, thinks he possesses the moral high ground, and maybe because she's got common sense Leia doesn't press it. At any rate, he didn't send her back because that would insult Jabba.
    Fett: "I won't hurt you. I won't touch you. Sleep if you will. Or not; I don't care."
    • Fett pointed out that what he was doing (pursuing bounties) was technically legal, and that he sees his relationship with Jabba as strictly business.
    • This isn't the only time Fett has acted this way. Usually, he isn't a cruel man; he's just completely uncaring of whoever he's hired to apprehend. (And there was no real profit in hurting Leia, especially since she was already a prisoner.)
  • Used in Marco Polo to hammer home the villainy of the corrupt Mongol overseers of the southern provinces of China. When the title hero confronts them, they say that the women will grow to enjoy it and will love their new luxurious lifestyle. This is in stark contrast with the more chivalrous northern Mongols where the man is expected to patiently await the woman's approval or accept rejection without protest.
  • Used in Juliet Marillier's Bridei Chronicles to highlight the virtues of the title character. He goes ballistic when he catches men from his own army about to rape captive women — despite the fact that a Pict in the 6th century probably wouldn't have such respect for women's rights.
  • Dune plays with this a bit: it doesn't beat around the bush about how the armies of old raped the women of conquered lands (and still do), and trying to avoid this is why Leto II makes his armies all female. Considering the Honored Matres are descended from various Fish Speaker armies he made and the amount of (male) raping they do, it shows that line of thinking doesn't work.
    • Much of what the Honored Matres do is as much control of their minions using their talents as an addictive drug ("do what we say if you want more of this") as actual rape-in-war. Many of their victims submit willingly in the first instance and then find themselves hooked. Internal reflections by several senior Bene Gesserit adepts show the Honored Matres' thinking as bound to lead to a horrific backlash for them sooner or later, and indeed they fear the possibility so much taht when the BG finally do breed a man who can turn the tables on them in bed (to some degree; they end up addicted to each other), the Honored Matres blast Arrakis to a glowing cinder when they're made to believe he's there.
  • Very noticeable in the Conqueror books. The Mongols were certainly fond of rape, and Genghis Khan did it so much that five per mille of people alive today have him as an ancestor. However, in the books, the Tartars are the only group known to actually commit rape.
  • The protagonist of Typewriter in the Sky (by L. Ron Hubbard) tries to enforce this trope on the pirates he commands, but finds that they refuse to obey any orders on the subject. The author gives a fair bit of attention to what would actually happen during a pirate attack, as well as how the main character's modern morality estranges him from his crewmen. In-story, the resolution to the problem is through a Cosmic Retcon—the protagonist's the antagonist of the story-within-a-story, and the writer decides he's not evil enough and rewrites him straight into I Have You Now, My Pretty (much to his displeasure.)
  • Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian mentions in the story "The Vale of Lost Women" that he has never taken a woman by force. This may be due to Conan's inherent decency, but it may also be due to a formative incident in his teenage years in which he tried to rape a woman who turned out to be the daughter of Ymir the Frost Giant ("The Frost-Giant's Daughter"). That would probably put anyone off rape for the rest of their lives.
    • Well, Conan is a rogue who regularly kills, steals, etc. The main reason he is the hero of his stories is that his opponents are either Eldritch Abominations or are human beings with extremely vicious tendencies. Rape is one way of painting them as more villainous than Conan himself. Case in point Salome, the main villain from "A Witch Shall Be Born" (1934). She was born a princess of Khauran but at birth, she was recognized as the Evil Witch reborn, resulting in her own parents leaving her to die alone in the wilderness. She returns decades later to depose her twin sister Taramis of Khauran and replace her. So far so good, nothing unreasonable. But she then spends most of the story either arranging for various people to rape Taramis (starting with her first night on the throne: "Salome, hurrying along the corridor outside, smiled spitefully as a scream of despair and poignant agony rang shuddering through the palace.") or orchestrating orgies. Salome herself clearly enjoys the sex but the other women are unwilling participants: "She constantly indulges in the most infamous revelries, in which the unfortunate ladies of the court are forced to join, young married women as well as virgins." No other villain in the series seems as preoccupied with rape.
    • On the other hand, a good number of them do rape — Conan rescues several Sex Slaves — and the armies are regarded as behaving predictably in the background.
  • Completely averted in the Horseclans series, where the protagonist (notably, someone originally from modern America) of the first book is quite willing to have his men rape prisoners of war, because they're "just Dirtmen."
    • On the other hand, the victims had to be past puberty. Raping children would get a Clansman impaled on a short stake. This apparently made the Horseclans morally superior to the Ehlenes, who would rape just anybody.
  • In one of The Witcher novels, an officer of an invading Nilfgardian army instructs his sergeants to restrain the soldiers from pillage, arsons, wanton slaughter of civilians and rape, since they want to give the invasion a look of a liberation operation. One of the sergeants is then shown relating the order to his platoon: "No pillage, except for forage, no arsons, no murders, no fucking... well, no fucking unless you do it hush-hush and so nobody sees you."
  • Subverted in the firth book of Black Company; after invading a new city, members of the company start raping Amazons. Croaker says they deserved it because they fought. Of course, the mercenaries are not exactly portrayed as pure of heart.
  • Birth of a Nation is this trope. The entire thing is about the Ku Klux Klan killing black men and carpetbaggers who raped white women. As you can probably expect, we've got a ton of Values Dissonance and serious Unfortunate Implications here.
  • In the Belisarius Series it is an awful crime that only the most barbaric minions of the bad guys do. Worthy Opponents like the Rajputs and the Kushans do not engage in this, and though some Romans do, when Belisarius hears about it he simply hangs the perp.
  • In Discworld the Silver Horde of barbarian warriors do not rape. However, this may be because they're all over 80, and is possibly subverted somewhat when the Ankh-Morpork Guild of Historians distinguishes between rape and ravishment. "It's a question of style. There were never any actual complaints."
    • Of course, there is an exchange between Rincewind and Cohen in Interesting Times which suggests that the Silver Horde do not rape for more.... practical reasons. Speaking about an 85 year old Barbarian.....
    Rincewind: "Rape? That's not very...."
    Cohen:"He's an old man. Don't go spoiling his dreams."
  • In King of the Middle-March by Kevin Crossley-Holland, the Christian armies in the Crusades are depicted as raping women in addition to other crimes, including both Muslims and the residents of a Byzantine city that the crusaders are used by their Venetian financial backer to besiege and ransack (that episode at least is Truth in Television). The protagonist, a crusader (and a Child Of Rape) is always horrified and intervenes when he can, and a tendency to treat women well is also used as a Pet the Dog trait for his Jerkass Big Brother Bully.
  • Captain Corelli's Mandolin: Corelli catches an Italian soldier trying to rape a Greek girl. He makes the man stand in the sun for hours wearing nothing but a helmet and a haversack full of rocks.
  • Surprisingly subverted in the otherwise rather lighthearted Sparhawk series. The fierce Peloi Tribesmen of the Great Plains (Fantasy Counterpart Culture to the Mongols/Huns) are loudly and clearly in favor of the full Rape, Pillage, and Burn trinity, and are staunch allies to the heroes - Noble Knighs of the Church. Who are not only unsurprised, but somewhat tolerant of the Peloi's predilections. During one memorable scene in the first trilogy, Sparhawk has to politely but firmly explain to their Peloi allies that there will be no rape, plundering or burnination during the invasion of a particular city, because it was one of their OWN cities that they were LIBERATING from an occupying force. The implication being that if it was a FOREIGN city, they'd mostly just stand aside and let the Tribesmen take what they wanted. The leader of the tribesmen is obviously depressed about this, but agrees - with a sigh - since they're old friends. The same Peloi chieftain winds up being a fairly major character in the second trilogy... and, somewhat amusingly, winds up marrying one of the Atan people - who had previously murdered any number of would-be rapists during her stay in foreign lands. What SHE thought of his past hobbies remains unsaid.
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar series, the Eastern Empire, despite being an antagonist, is like this. They have very strict laws about rape that gets imposed whenever they conquer a new land. Basically, any woman that gets raped is granted the status of a divorced spouse, which means that half the perpetrator's possessions and wages go to victim, five years if there is no child and sixteen if there is one. If the child is a daughter, the guy has to provide a dowry, and if it's a son, he has to pay for the outfitting when the son is conscripted into the military. If the perpetrator doesn't have means to pay, then he gets sent to a government labor camp with his wages paying for it. If a guy is stupid enough to rape again, then he undergoes physical and magical punishment that leave him outwardly intact but unable to repeat the act.
  • In Sharpe, Sharpe is proud of being a "thief, pirate and murderer" but is very clear that he never commits rape.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In HBO's Rome, one of Titus Pullio's (one of the two main protagonists) first lines something to the effect of how he lives to kill his enemies, take their gold, and enjoy their women. He's never shown actually enjoying an enemy's woman. He has bordellos for that.
    • Pullo does wind up bedding several slaves, who probably didn't have a lot of choice in the matter.
  • Sharpe: The eponymous hero will absolutely not tolerate rape, even - perhaps especially - by his own men. He has two enemy soldiers shot in front of their commander when he catches them at it, and almost hangs a member of his own unit who's caught with a girl, only relenting when the girl says it wasn't rape. Even then, he has the man taken behind a building and beaten for "making free" with her.
    • Sharpe's Siege's plot is reliant on the aversion of this trope. The British army is camped outside the French-occupied town of Badajoz, and Sharpe's wife - a spy for British-allied Portugal - is inside the city, along with their infant daughter. Much of the plot, therefore, relies on his need to find and protect his family from his own army ransacking the town.
  • In an episode of the French comedy show Kaamelott, the daughter of a Celt chieftain tells King Arthur - who just conquered her village - that according to Celtic law he must now rape her to confirm his victory. She seems utterly disappointed when he refuses.

    Videogames 
  • Almost averted in Dragon Age: Origins. This being Dragon Age, the number of true allies with whom your women are safe is quite small, to say the least. In the City Elf origin, all the women in your family, and you (if female), are dragged off by human nobles to be raped. A few NPCs allude to this fate when talking about war and banditry in Thedas. There are quite a few female NPCs with Rape as Backstory. And, just in case you thought you were safe fighting inhuman, nonsentient beasts who don't seem to reproduce normally, the women who are taken away by the Darkspawn are mutated into Broodmothers and forced to give birth to new Darkspawn. Yes, women are safe with the few actual heroes in this world (even the oversexed Zevran will be very, very sure you're into him before he'll make a move), but this seems to be a fact about these particular characters as people, and does not automatically apply to anyone on their sides, ever.
    • Considering that it seems ALL Elves who aren't the Dalish are poor as dirt, it is unlikely there would be any form of protection along those lines.

    Webcomics 
  • Nodwick: A somewhat-outnumbered human army is standing against an Orcish Horde, when the protagonists bring in a small army of mercenaries to help the beleaguered humans... unfortunately, the mercenaries are... well, mercenaries, and it soon turns into a bidding-war between the human forces and the orcs. Finally, the Orcs offer the mercenaries a fat percentage of the looting, "And your pick of the women!" to which the mercenaries respond with a resounding "SOLD!" But of course, Nodwick manages to turn things around in his usual, understated fashion, by playing the virtues of the Stupid Good poster-child, Piffany, against the mercenaries' ruthlessness. Realizing that if they sell out to the orcs, it'll make her cry, they turn on the orcs with unbridled fury...
  • Averted in the world of Drowtales, which is a Crapsack World with Grey and Gray Morality, and shows that even in a society where the political and war leaders are women this can still happen. Quain'tana's daughter Mel'arnach was repeatedly abused by her mother's men and at one point Quain'tana herself ordered it to try and conceive an heir through Mel and Vaelia, the only human in the main cast, says that this is true of the human armies in the world as well.


Wife HusbandrySexual Harassment and Rape TropesYou Would Make a Great Model
Scarpia UltimatumAdministrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!You Would Make a Great Model

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