A character is attacked by a villain in the most painful non-physical way possible: their mind and soul are assaulted with painful, horrifying visions, sensations, and/or memories, and their will and sanity broken until afterward they're powerless, hopeless and numb, but not dead, although they may wish they were. Minimal to no sexual contact actually occurs, but as the name indicates, everything else is there to resemble a rape — the ultimate violation of privacy and consent, extreme humiliation that annihilates all sense of self-esteem, near-absolute helplessness even against your very own mind and body, and the corrupt perversion of what could otherwise be a source of identity and joy.
The physical attacks are just icing on the cake; most of the focus of the agony is inflicted mentally and emotionally, and it's chilling to see a villain be that cruel. The traumatized victim suffers all of the side-effects afterward almost immediately (such as Despair Event Horizon and Rape Leads to Insanity). May include further sexual symbolism for good measure, such as severe and unfunny Clothing Damage and sinister Double Entendres.
Comes in two variations: one is a completely "mundane" but no less horrifying brand of torture that nonetheless breaks a character's mind. The other is the above done via Mind Probe, Psychic Powers, Brown Note, illusions, your worst nightmares, or something Man Was Not Meant to Know that will cause permanent damage to your sanity. Of course, Mind Rape can also involve forced exposure to Mind Screws.
Just as Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil, a character indulging in the Mind Rape of another character primarily for their own pleasure or enjoyment is a good sign they have crossed the Moral Event Horizon. Doubly so if the sexual symbolism is present. A Well-Intentioned Extremist, Anti-Villain, or even the heroes may resort to Mind Rape if circumstances force them to (and will probably regret it with all grief for the rest of their existence), but only the most disgusting lowest of the low shall take a sick enjoyment out of it.
The less said of the things that are created when this trope meets Rule 34, the better.
Can be a possible cause of I'm Having Soul Pains, and can function as a Stupidity-Inducing Attack. Heroes will try to protect themselves from these by entering Heroic Safe Mode or trying out some Brain Bleach.
See also Room 101, 2 + Torture = 5, Fate Worse than Death, Gaslighting and Psychological Torment Zone. Contrast with the Care-Bear Stare, which assaults the target with happy thoughts, like rainbows and stuff.
Not to Be Confused with More than Mind Control (though Mind Rape can have some elements of this). Also not to be confused with Mind Screw, although sometimes a Mind Screw might leave the audience feeling this way. And for a literal rape by mind, see Fantastic Arousal.
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Examples of Psychic Assaults:
- Tren Krom tends to inflict this when he searches someone's mind for information, as it also gives the victim glimpses into Tren Krom's mind. The fact that he tends to assault his victims with his long, red, fleshy appendages while doing this only adds to the disturbing subtext.
- Toa of Psionics are also capable of doing this, and it's implied that they can cause permanent brain damage with their powers.
- The Makuta species has many mental powers, too, and where a Toa of Psionics may stop, they will gladly push further. When Teridax unleashed his full powers on Karzahni's mind, it reduced the latter into a vegetable on two legs. Yet Karzahni was the one most famous for his soul and mind-crushing visions. Makuta evidently like beating others at their own game.
- Speaking of Karzahni, he liked to do this with his Mask of Alternate Futures when he was feeling particularly sadistic, even managing to get one over on Teridax by showing him a vision of a future where he lost and Mata Nui awoke none too pleased. The result was actually enough to get Teridax to scream in horror...until he recovered and decided in a rage to pay Karzahni back with interest.
- Onewa once managed to do this with his Mask of Power, which normally only gives him Mind Control, after he was pushed into Unstoppable Rage when Nokama was dying after saving his life. The narration explicitly describes the act as him focusing the mental energies of the mask into a spear to ram right into his opponent's mind.
- Hakann of the Piraka has this as his special third power in the form of "mental blasts", and he loves using them on his enemies to make them writhe in pain before slipping into unconsciousness. After he temporarily stole half of Brutaka's power, he was capable of frying a person's mind and killing them with it. Of course, once his leader Zaktan showed him the inherent weakness of said power when he dropped a large boulder on him...and Hakann, having been blasting Zaktan with them at the time and acting on instinct when the attack came at him, remembered too late a mental blast doesn't work against an opponent with no mind to blast and gets crushed by it.
- Gali Nuva experienced one after being hit by Dalu's Sensory Overload-inducing weapons. Her sight became so advanced that she actually peered into other universes, all of which she just couldn't take in at once, and eventually broke into a furious craze, attacking her partners and running off into the wilderness. Thankfully, Axonn was there to cleanse her mind with his healing powers.
- Carapar used to be smart, but isn't anymore thanks to years of being repeatedly hypnotized by Takadox.
- In The Mechanisms' concept album "The Bifrost Incident" whatever Odin did to Loki instead of executing her "messed her head up something awful". The effects include Identity Amnesia and intrusive thoughts of her past life.
Flashes like camera bulbs fire in my brainIs this truly me, am I going insane?In faint bloody flashes I watch people dieAnd if that was me, then who am I?
- A creepy, somewhat sexual variant: the PV for Agitated Screams Of Maggots by Dir en grey does this to the protagonist and also the viewer for effect. It is a Mind Screw, which the maggot monster is forcing on the protagonist and then, as the video continues, moving from Mind Rape to attempting physical rape of the protagonist to Mind Rape the viewer.
- Oingo Boingo's "Insanity" has progressively creepier Stalker with a Crush lyrics that lead to this:
I'd love to see inside your mind and tear it all apartTo cut you open with a knife and find your sacred heart
- Demons in Christianity can inflict devastating mental assaults (see also Demonic Possession). There's also the interpretative depiction of Hell as a place of Mind Rape is an alternative to the rather-cartoonish Fire and Brimstone Hell. Specifically, this Mind Rape effect is reasoned to be self-inflicted and caused by eternal separation from God, resulting to loss of sense of purpose, sanity and even the ability to comprehend love and "everlasting happiness".
- One interpretation popular in the Mormon Church is that when you stand before God you will have total recall of all you have done (except those offenses of which you've repented, i.e. confessed and forsaken) and be acutely aware of how every action you took affected those around you (meaning that, in the end, God won't judge you, you will judge yourself), thus it will be one big Mind Probe of your deepest memories. Which would be a pretty tortuous thing if you made many mistakes in life, thus hell is a self-imposed state of mind brought on by knowing just how much of a terrible person you are.
- Another interpretation is that the true form of God can do this to you, hence why Islam forbids any depiction of God's true form, and why Judaism forbids saying God's true name (which is The Unpronounceable, while "Yahweh" and "Jehovah" are just approximations).
- Numerous beings in Shinto mythology can do this to you. Kitsune, and to a smaller extent, Nekomata , to name a couple examples.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! East Academy, Gol'gar does this to one of the cultists on Marcus's orders.
- WAAPT has mainly the psychic assault variety, with the result of an unrestrained assault being brain death. Though the "mundane" variant is used from time to time.
- "MK Ultra" by Muse, with a title inspired by a US torture and mind-control program Project MKUltra at The Other Wiki, is about Mind Rape:
How much deception can you takeHow many lies will you createHow much longer till you breakYour mind's about to fall
- In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978), Zaphod Beeblebrox is abducted and forced into the Total Perspective Vortex. As the guide notes, this is a fiendish torture device designed to strip away every shred of illusion and reveal to the individual exactly how small and insignificant and inconsequential they are to the Universe as a whole. The shock normally annhilates the brain. But the infinite majesty and grandeur of the Universe is outclassed when confronted with an ego the size of that possessed by Zaphod Beeblebrox. it simply cannot compete.
- Dino Attack RPG:
- A more mundane example without use of supernatural abilities or brainwashing: Dust plays with Lutsky's mind to such a degree that he turns him into a paranoid psychopath. Eventually, that comes back to bite him.
- This is more or less what Loop did to Katerina Schattenberg just before he died.