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Gratuitous Rape

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"Take a good look at your story. Why do you think a rape is what you need for it to progress? Is there something else that could fill the same function? Unless you have a damn good reason to include rape in a story, you probably shouldn’t."
Jay Edidin, InsideOut

Gratuitous Rape is Exactly What It Says on the Tin - a pointless rape scene usually happening for little to no reason. Did the Big Bad defeat The Hero? Rape. Did a whole bunch of Mooks gang up on The Hero at once? Rape. Does the angsty Lancer have childhood issues? It was because he was raped. Is The Hero going up against a foe that has Mind Manipulation powers? Mind Rape THEN rape. Did The Hero defeat the Big Bad? Rape - Wait, WHAT?!

There are many guesses as to why Gratuitous Rape is used so much. To name a few, rape makes for good drama or it can show a villain as very, very, evil. What some creators forget, however, is that rape is a sensitive subject and therefore rape scenes should be handled with care. When unskilled hands insist on shoehorning rape somewhere into their work, THIS happens. This is a common cliche in Fan Works, but professional works are no stranger to it, either.

A good indicator as to whether or not rape is gratuitous is if:

This trope refers to the unnecessary rape scenes and the little (if any) bearing they have on the plot. Before posting an example, ask yourself if the scene was at all relevant to the plot, Fridge Logic would be fixed if it was replaced, or if it only exists due to lazy writing.

This accusation often gets levied at works that go the Adaptational Consent route and take an encounter that was consensual in its original format and turn it into a rape.

Contrast Sex Starts, Story Stops, a pointless but consensual sex scene.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Berserk has been accused of this. Rape happens a lot in the Crapsack World of this series, and many of the major characters (particularly if they're female) have had to deal with at least one attempted — or successful — rape during their lives. It doesn't really help that the nastier villains, particularly many Apostles, are fond of the crime in general.
  • Hen has a rape subplot that's so gratuitous it falls into Big-Lipped Alligator Moment territory. It comes out of nowhere, has no plot relevance, is never mentioned again, and the victim just blows it off and doesn't seem at all affected by the experience.
  • Sanctuary tries to play with Tokai habit of raping random women as Fanservice or Black Comedy Rape, but its always so pointless that makes you dislike the character even if you liked him before.
  • In the Zeorymer manga Masaki could have explained his sinister plan to Miku without raping her, but he rapes her anyway. With an icicle.

  • Sleez forcing a mind-controlled Big Barda to star in porn movies in Action Comics #593. He almost did it to Superman, too. (How creepy was Sleeze and this story? Sleeze was kicked out of Apokalips by Darkseid for being too creepy.)
  • Infamously, Identity Crisis (2004) created the Retcon of Dr. Light raping Sue Dibny in The Watchtower, and worse, we only found out about it after Sue had been murdered and its only purpose was to motivate the heroes into crossing into very questionable territory. And worse, the entire rape plot turns out to be a Red Herring when it comes to the central murder mystery.


  • The Cavern: The film ends during a rape scene, which is simply there to shock the viewer.
  • The Condemned (2007) contains a scene where one of the characters is Forced to Watch as his wife gets raped and then murdered. This adds nothing to the plot whatsoever, and is just needless ugliness.
  • Evil Dead:
    • In The Evil Dead (1981), the infamous "tree rape" scene was so completely unneeded in the movie, and added so much to its controversy, that director Sam Raimi deeply, deeply regrets including it.
    • In Evil Dead 2, which recreates many of the same situations as the first movie, it's averted altogether as the evil trees simply kill their victim instead.
  • After the remaining cast is mugged in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, the perpetrators decide to take the Final Girl with them as well and attempt to rape her at their hideout. Fortunately, Jason shows up to dispatch the duo.
  • In The Hills Have Eyes (2006), there is an unnecessary rape scene where Lizard forces Lynn to breastfeed him. The directors tried to justify this by saying he was hungry, although it could clearly be seen that there is milk in the van's fridge.
  • Jack Frost (1997): The infamous "snowman rape scene". Jack brutally kills everybody else but stops to rape the teenage girl taking a bath.
  • Meatball Machine: The alien parasite sexually assaulting the female heroine with an appendage in the theatrical version. This scene was not in the original independent film.
  • In Showgirls, Molly is beaten and raped by her client...just before she was about to have consensual sex with him! It came right out of nowhere.

  • Many people think that A Song of Ice and Fire suffers from this. It's definitely part of what makes Westeros such a Crapsack World. Specifically, in the mediaeval fantasy setting, rape during times of war is treated as an expected occurrence, there is no objection to use of the Marital Rape License, and some lords are tyrannical enough to invoke "First Night" despite the practice officially being outlawed.
  • Frequently seen in the books of Danielle Steel, mostly done in the style of Break the Cutie or Kick the Dog. However, at least one example was a perfect demonstration of the first scenario—the heroine was already grappling with her daughter's near-fatal car accident, her husband's infidelity, and her overbearing mother. So of course, it turns out that she was sexually abused by her father.
  • The Last-Herald Mage trilogy has a lengthy sequence near the finale where the hero is captured and gang-raped by some mooks. It affects the plot not at all.
  • One especially grotesque example can be found in the third book of Gloria Tesch's Maradonia Saga. Quote: "The false monk Larivier had drugged Krimhilda. He now used his manhood and took advantage of her as darkness fell over Notali, the city of evil." (page 349)
  • Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series contains colossal amounts of rape and Attempted Rape, very little of it necessary to the plot. At one point, one of the female characters is even thrown to a pit full of rapists, where the expected happens.

    Live Action TV 
  • The fifth season of Engrenages has a graphic rape scene where a minor member of Oz's female Gang Banger crew is raped by a security guard at an office that she was stealing information from. The two characters are extremely minor (the man's literal sole purpose is to appear, commit the rape, and then only appear in one more scene in the season, being questioned by the cops), the rape has absolutely no impact on the plot, and it seems to have been put in solely to dial up the Crapsack World atmosphere.
  • Game of Thrones has a scene where Khal Drogo rapes Danaerys on their wedding night, in a completely different turn from what happened in the book.
  • Within one calendar year (2005), so many characters on the soap opera Passions were raped that it was known as "The Year of the Rapes". Adding insult to injury, only one of these stories was handled even remotely seriously or realistically (the victim dressed shabbily and could not bear to be touched). All other victims went on with their lives as though nothing had happened.
  • Rome has a few. Marc Antony memorably pauses his army's march back to Rome so he could stop and rape a shepherd girl by the side of the road. Mark Antony being Mark Antony, this was probably Truth in Television.
  • David Morse's saintly doctor on St. Elsewhere was a victim of Gratuitous Gay Rape.
  • The Titanic (1996) miniseries includes a scene where a third-class girl is raped in the shower by an evil steward.
  • In his final scene in Penny Dreadful, Roper graphically announces that he's going to rape and kill Vanessa even if she lets him take Ethan away, seemingly for no in-universe reason at all and out-of-universe only to make him pure evil and make them killing him seem more justified.

    Video Games 
  • In the DX version of I=MGCM, the enemy demons unnecessarily rape the magical heroines (with their "extra" tails) in some of the main story episodes, and even in limited time event episodes, the Demon's Tower monthly dungeon, and possibly the dress stories. Thankfully, the regular version has all the NSFW scenes, including the rape ones, removed without affecting the plot of the game.

    Web Comics 
  • Discussed in Something*Positive. Davan sends a rejection letter to the writer of a bad play which reads "A better title for your play would be Rape-Rape: A Tale of Rapening. Also, your next play should have a little less rape in it."