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Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil

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"In the criminal justice system, sexually-based offenses are considered especially heinous."

In many works of fiction, especially situations of Rape as Drama, rape is not merely bad; it's a qualitatively different level of evil. As such, a rape scene can be used as a Kick the Dog moment for a particularly evil character, or as the point where a character who previously was merely unlikeable crosses the Moral Event Horizon into monster territory.

Note that not only is rape considered a game changer for almost all characters, but it is also so for the writer. Many stories and Crapsack Worlds have monsters who don't commit rape, even though everything about their character indicates they could, would, or should. There are also times when rape is kept "off camera" or otherwise something in the past, or hinted at once and never brought up again. Having rape in a story will immediately plunge it into the darkest and edgiest abyss of all that is Darker and Edgier. If they don't portray the rape as dark enough, then Values Dissonance (and thus the most scathing criticism from the audience) will happen.

A sub-trope of Even Evil Has Standards when rape disgusts a villain. Compare Wouldn't Hit a Girl, Wouldn't Hurt a Child. Contrast Black Comedy Rape and, if the victim seems unperturbed and wants romance or sex immediately afterwards, Got Over Rape Instantly Related to the idea of rape as a Fate Worse than Death. When refusal to engage in this is a sign of the good guys superiority it is The Women Are Safe with Us.

Woe betide a rapist who is caught by a Wife-Basher Basher: The results are NOT pretty.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Averted in Basilisk. While he has no problem committing rape several times, this is NOT what makes Tenzen undeniably evil, but rather, the way he does it, his motivation, and his love of emotional abuse.
  • In Blade of the Immortal, the only guys present who do not rape Rin's mother are the ones we're supposed to sympathize with later on, and Anotsu explicitly forbids the rape of Rin herself because "assaulting children shows no class."
  • In Bleach, Ulquiorra calls Nnoitra "disgusting" for toying with the idea of sexually assaulting Orihime, despite being a member of Big Bad Sōsuke Aizen's army. To underline that Ulquiorra is, in fact, still evil, he goes on to detail exactly how he and Aizen are screwing Orihime's head and sapping her will to resist.
  • In Blood+, in a notable aversion of Double Standard Rape: Female on Male, most viewers most viewers sympathized with Diva until she raped Riku, at which point she crossed the Moral Event Horizon.
  • Death Note: Light Yagami is made more sympathetic in the anime adaptation of the manga by changing his second murder from the killing of man who is sexually harassing a woman to the killing of a man who is attempting to rape a woman.
  • What tends to push Muraki, the villain in Descendants of Darkness, firmly into monster territory is that he raped and murdered Hisoka.
  • Raoh from Fist of the North Star, series most famous Big Bad, at one points walks in to see one of his mooks killing-and-raping women For the Evulz and immediately decapitates him with one slap, and flattens the surviving accomplices by riding his elephant-sized stallion Koku-Oh over the bastards. It's one of his most prominent Pet the Dog moments.
  • Ichi the Killer. Kakihara is messed up in all sorts of ways, but only the twins, who pretty much rape their way through the series, get monster treatment.
  • In Legend of the Blue Wolves Captain Continental's rape and torture of Jonathan clinches him as a monster.
  • In RideBack, it's the threat of rape, to obtain a false confession, that pushes the military government into monster territory. And they'd already killed someone surrendering to them. The rebel forces aren't much better, so its inclusion is what told us that these are the true villains.
  • Katsuragi's rape and torture of Masataka in Sakura Gari cements him as a monster.
  • In The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign, rape is basically the only thing the White Queen hasn't done to subjugate Kyousuke. She will brainwash, torture, and threaten innocents on a whim, but his chastity is (relatively) safe even when his body isn't.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • In Final Crisis, Lex Luthor joins Libra in his plans to aid Darkseid in his conquest of the Earth and seems to have no problem with Libra brainwashing people and killing superheroes. But when Libra vaguely implies that after victory he plans to organize a rape-train on Supergirl and Lex is going to be first in the line, Luthor teams up with Doctor Sivana to bring him down.
    • Identity Crisis (2004): Dr. Light was evil, but he wasn't evil until it was Retconned that he had raped Elongated Man's wife Sue Dibny in the JLA watchtower. Following the retcon, it's become standard practice to write Light as a Serial Rapist. Quoth Plastic Man: "It's like that's his power now."
    • In Action Comics #593, the slimeball New God Sleez brainwashes Superman and Big Barda, raping the latter on film before trying to make her film a porno with the former. Even the God of Evil Darkseid was disgusted with his abuse of his Mind Control powers for his own pleasure and banished him, with this being the final straw to the point he sics Barda's husband Mr. Miracle on him.
  • For as often as Empowered ends up bound, gagged, and nude in a room full of villains, they rarely attempt to assault her, because this would violate the "Unwritten rules" between heroes and villains. Those few villains willing to break the rules are, well, you know...
  • Marvel Universe:
    • In Daredevil #206, corrupt Tarzan Boy Micah Synn starts dating Debbie, the wife of Murdock's law partner Foggy Nelson. He ignores her initial reluctance and attempts to force himself on her, only to be stopped by The Kingpin of all people who tells him that his organization has rules. The two enter a relationship regardless as a result of All Girls Want Bad Boys.
    • The Punisher: Frank Castle hates most criminals with a cold, brutal passion, but rapists he harbors an extra bit of hatred for — especially human traffickers who sell sex slaves.
    • To quote Doctor Doom in a 2010 issue of X-Factor (2006):
      Doom: I hope you ladies will display more wisdom than your associates... to say nothing of gratitude.
      Sue Storm: Gratitude, Doom? For imprisoning me?
      Doom: For saving you, foolish woman, from the attentions of an impostor. A Doom from another world, at the risk of sounding melodramatic. The fool. He thought to combine resources with me. As if I was unaware he would eventually seek to betray me. I decided I would allow his game to run its course... but insisted that you be removed from the board. His plans for you were... distasteful. Life is a cheap commodity, but we should have some respect for the intimacies of man and wife, should we not?
  • In Gearhead, when a quartet of exiled villains easily knock the eponymous protagonist unconscious and they're debating what to do with her, the leader smacks one of them just for a remark that vaguely implies the possibility of raping her note , reminding him that there's a difference "between criminal and fuckin' evil."
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen:
    • We're first introduced to the Invisible Man while he's in the process of raping boarding school girls. Because it's done in the style of Victorian literature, it's mostly treated as a distasteful perversion by the other characters. Note that this is Deliberate Values Dissonance, and the Invisible Man is very clearly meant to be a bad guy.
    • From the same series, Hyde later rapes him to death, and the other characters — particularly Nemo — turn on him.
  • In The Wicked + The Divine, Minerva, who is thoroughly evil and plotting the deaths of all the other surviving gods, makes a point of specifically telling her Straw Misogynist minion Woden that using mind control to rape people would be utterly unacceptable.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Awakening of a Magus, when Draco attempts to scold Harry for not showing proper restraint when dealing with Crabbe and Goyle, Harry states that restraint is the only reason there weren't two cases of Ludicrous Gibs. Apparently, he did a surface scan of their minds, and not only are they both abusive toward Goyle's little sister, but they have also started developing some unhealthy interest in her (though they are yet to act upon it).
  • In "Canisp", this is part of what sets the thoroughly unlikable dominants apart from the monstrous Vereor. The author even stated that while Ignavus, the resident Jerkass, is universally hated, he would never stoop to rape.
  • The God of Destruction comes to Remnant: Gojira doesn't see anything wrong with killing, but when he learns the Red Suns plan to rape Velvet and Coco, he becomes completely enraged and comes to their rescue.
  • The Night Unfurls plays with this trope.
  • Used in the Redwall (with a dash of The Twilight Saga Hatedom and The Decemberists references) fanfic "Cullin' of the Fold". The vermin are horrified by the suggestion that they're going to rape the Mary Sue but see nothing at all wrong with eating her.
  • Semi-example in Mistakes; the nation-tans don't mind being killed at all because it doesn't stick, but being raped still traumatises them.
  • The villain of the first part of The Private Diary of Elizabeth Quatermain very calmly states his intent to have the title character raped repeatedly as a way of helping him repay a few favors he owes. This is doubly squicky since the announcement comes right after he tells her that he's her illegitimate half-brother. The one who was promised the first go is just getting started when help arrives.
  • Shadowchasers: Backwater seems to emphasize this; each time the crime has occurred (both in Tsuki's backstory and with Solex) the perpetrator is depicted as the darkest and most vile type of villain. The first example was instrumental to Tsuki's Heel–Face Turn, while the second disgusted her, and given that she's a demon who was born and raised in the Abyss, that's really saying something.
  • Team Fortress 2 is a universe populated by psychopaths, sociopaths, murderers and assholes, on both sides. In a great deal of its fanfiction, the bad guy is picked out as the only one who will commit the act of rape. There is however fanfiction where characters commit borderline rape and you're still meant to see some other character as the "villain".
  • In Tiberium Wars, even the Brotherhood of Nod is disgusted by rape, and it is implied that Kane personally considers it reprehensible. (Sexual assault is listed as a "Class One Offense against the Messiah.") Soldiers caught in the act can be summarily executed, which happens when a Nod soldier tries to rape Sandra Telfair. He almost manages to pull it off, when a Black Hand busts in, beats the attacker senseless against a wall while repeatedly telling the Nod soldier what his offense was, and then chucks him out a window, once again proving that even evil has standards.
  • In the Teen Titans (2003) fic Trauma, Killer Moth reforms from villainy after his daughter Kitten is raped by a Serial Rapist. Killer Moth states that he had always thought he was evil, but after what happened to his daughter he now knows what true evil is like.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Blindness, the king of ward 3 is seen as a violent idiot with far too much power. Then when he forces all the women to have sex with him and his men in exchange for food, it is made clear that he is completely inhumane.
  • Cape Fear's main antagonist is Max Cady, a wife-beater who is released after eight years and intends to rape the prosecuting attorney's wife and 12-year-old daughter.
  • For all his murdering and drug dealing, it's committing rape that sets up the downfall of Little Ze in City of God, though this is in part because of a supposed magic charm that requires celibacy on his part.
  • Every character in Con Air, including Cyrus the Virus and mass-murderer Garland Greene, is disgusted by serial rapist Johnny 23. Cyrus threatens to kill him if he tries to rape a captive female guard. Later the hero pounds his head while screaming, "You don't treat women like that!"
    Cyrus: I despise rapists. For me, you're somewhere between a cockroach and that white stuff that accumulates at the corner of your mouth when you're really thirsty. But, in your case, I'll make an exception.
  • The only criminal we see the hero kill in the film version of Daredevil is, you guessed it, a rapist who escaped justice.
  • Das Experiment: The main guard who spearheads the abuse of the prisoners nevertheless seems to object to one of his associates lecherously forcing the female scientist to strip herself in front of him and orders him to put clothes on her and place her with the rest of the prisoners. He's occupied elsewhere when the actual rape attempt happens, however.
  • It takes the implied rape of his wife to convince the protagonist of The Devil's Advocate to turn on the villain, as well as convincing him that his evil father really is Satan.
    Milton: On a scale of one to ten, ten being the most depraved acts of sexual theater known to man, one being an average Friday night run-through at the Lomax household, I'd say, not to be immodest, me and Maryann got it on at about... seven.
  • In Dragonheart, there's a Near-Rape Experience between the evil king Einon and his would-be assassin Kara. The novelization of the film takes it a step beyond; he actually does rape her. In both cases, it's done entirely to show just how far beyond the Moral Event Horizon Einon has cheerfully wandered.
  • Face/Off: Subverted as far as the villain's attitude goes, but played straight in showing how bad he really is. Castor Troy (impersonating Sean Archer) beats up Jamie's boyfriend when the guy tries to rape the girl in front of Archer's house, apparently because the attempt disgusts even Troy. However, the rest of the film strives to portray him as a Hypocrite. Earlier in the film he gropes a blonde choir girl to "Hallelujah", and insinuates a rape threat on Jamie to Archer's face during the hangar standoff. Later on he also licks Jamie's face while holding a pistol to her head to taunt Archer (while Jamie thinks he's her father because he's wearing Archer's face, no less).
  • In the Friday the 13th movies, there's two cases of Jason stopping would-be-rapists on their tracks. One in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, where he kills a junkie that was about to drug and rape Rennie, and another in Freddy vs. Jason, even though he kills both the perpetrator and the inebriated victim in this case. This implies that sexual violence is a no-no for the big guy, his implied rape of Christine in Friday the 13th Part III non-withstanding. The ambigousness of the latter case is actually an executive-enforced case of this trope, as early discussions of Chris' backstory involved her being explicitely assaulted by Jason, until it was deemed as too exploitative for her, and out-of-character for Jason.
  • The protagonist in The General's Daughter spends the whole movie trying to figure out who killed the title character, which leads to an investigation of her rape while at West Point which was covered up. During his search for truth, he is told by another character that what happened to her was worse than rape. His response, "What's worse than rape?" is pure this trope. The answer is: Betrayal. The General agreed to help cover up his daughter's rape in exchange for a promotion.
  • The original Highlander movie has the Big Bad rape the hero's second wife (the one he married after becoming immortal) right after killing his mentor hundreds of years ago. Apparently, she never told MacLeod, because the shock of it when the villain casually mentions it in the modern setting is enough to provoke MacLeod into almost attacking him on Holy Ground (the only real No-No for Immortals) and because he mockingly insinuates that she didn't tell McLeod because she liked it.
  • In Hollow Man, Caine is a bit of a jerkass to start and moreso when he gets turned invisible. Then we're shown how depraved he's become when he rapes a woman while invisible.
  • James Bond: Honey Ryder's backstory in Dr. No includes her being raped by her landlord. She got her revenge for it by poisoning him with a female black widow.note  She asks Bond if she did wrong, and Sean Connery's acting plays the trope dead straight.
    Bond: Well, it wouldn't do to make a habit of it, but...
  • In Killshot and the novel, Affably Evil hitman Blackbird turns on his partner Richie because the latter makes it clear he intends to sexually assault Carmen, a woman they're holding hostage and intend to kill anyway, and makes her strip down to her underwear while promising to do worse later. After getting fed up with him and shooting Richie in the head Blackbird agrees to let her put on some clothes and directly addresses this.
    Blackbird: I'm not like Richie. I'm not the same as him.
  • M is about a bunch of criminal gangs that work together to capture a child-rapist/murderer. Although many of the gang members are themselves guilty of murder and such, they still see themselves as morally superior to the pedophile. This combines Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil with Wouldn't Hurt a Child. Lampshaded and even deconstructed by one character and Hans himself, who suggest that Hans may actually be less blameworthy, because for him killing is a compulsion, whereas the others are criminals out of laziness or greed.
  • Initially, Moulin Rouge! has the Duke as something of an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain, but when he tries to rape Satine during "El Tango de Roxanne", he loses any sympathy the audience might have had and overall becomes more menacing and creepy.
  • Freddy Krueger of A Nightmare on Elm Street was originally going to be a pedophile, but Wes Craven didn't want to be accused of capitalizing on several real-life child molestation cases going on at the time. There were subtle hints of it, but he was officially only a child murderer. The remake reinstates the sexual aspect of his crimes and actually removes the murder, which most audiences saw as upping the ante of his crimes overall.
  • Marcellus Wallace's rapists, Maynard and Zed, are pretty much the only characters in Pulp Fiction who could truly be considered "bad guys". Every other major character is at least a bit sympathetic.
  • Riddick (the 2013 movie):
    • Riddick shows contempt for rapists, as in Assault on Dark Athena. When Santana gets on top of Dahl to rape her, Riddick grabs his knife as if preparing to intervene, even though this would signal his presence. It turns out that he didn't need to anyway, as she can easily beat up Santana.
    • It's heavily implied that the female prisoner was being used as a Sex Slave by the mercenaries as well. Luna is taken aback that she thinks he's going to rape her, showing that he's a nicer guy than the rest.
  • Sleepers: The reason why Johnny and Tommy are Sympathetic Murderers is that their victim used to rape them when they were children. Not only are their loved ones extremely sympathetic toward them (and to their friends Michael and Shakes, who were also molested) when they are told about the abuse, one of them goes as far as to perjure himself to help them. Additionally, their plot of revenge hinges on this trope. By uncovering the rapist's true nature in court and exploiting that nobody really saw Johnny and Tommy kill Nokes, they get the judge horrified and disgusted enough to acquit them.
  • In Veronica Guerin, the journalist is proving resistant to threats on her life from career criminals, so John Gilligan issues her the following phonecall:
    John Gilligan: If I ever hear from you again, I'm gonna take your son, And I'm gonna ride him. Do you understand me? I'm going to take your son. And I'm going to ride him.
  • In Chinese flick The Warlords, the character played by Jet Li orders the execution of two of his soldiers — mere boys from the village most of his army hails from — for raping two girls. This after the army had taken the town in yet another bloody battle.

  • In the Belisarius Series, the Malwa seem to be fond of rape as no-one else is, presumably to show how evil they are. At least one of them even makes a point of physically ravishing Sex Slaves rather then just ordering them to have sex with him. It is even specially noted that in other societies "concubine" means "pampered semi-official junior wife of aristocrats in societies that practice limited polygamy" whereas among the Malwa it means "today's rape victim of an important person". Good guys, of course, do not stoop to this sort of thing and in Belisarius's army anyone caught committing sexual assault will have to talk to Valentinian.
  • The Book of Mormon: The only time that rape is mentioned is in connection with the most depraved group of people to be recorded, who would then torture their victims to death afterward and devour the bodies. The rape itself is described as "depriving [the victims] of that which was most dear and precious above all things, which is chastity and virtue," and the writer, who is of the same nation, nonetheless laments that he can't help but think the impending destruction of his people is a good thing.
  • In The High King, the final installment of The Chronicles of Prydain, the readers again encounter Dorath, who had been a villain in the fourth book. That he was a brigand and thief, the readers already knew, but it's not until he announces his intent to rape Princess Eilonwy and have her raped by his friends that he's revealed to be a monster.
  • Played with in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. The eponymous protagonist's rape of an innocent girl near the beginning is presented as a horrible Moral Event Horizon, but also to show how deeply fucked up he is over his issues. Also, it's very clear that Big Bad Lord Foul is immeasurably worse.
  • In Chung Kuo, a world with a Grey-and-Gray Morality, rebel leader deVore is established as particularly evil through a gruesome rape scene.
  • In the Conan the Barbarian story A Witch Shall Be Born, the mercenary leader Constantius rapes the kind and benevolent Queen Taramis. This scene is used to establish just how depraved and sociopathic Constantius (and by extension, Salome, the title witch) is.
    Salome: Enough of this farce; let us on to the next act in the comedy. Listen, dear sister: it was I who sent Constantius here. When I decided to take the throne of Khauran, I cast about for a man to aid me, and chose the Falcon, because of his utter lack of all characteristics men call good.
  • Darkest Powers: In The Summoning, Derek is perfectly willing to allow Liam and Ramon to blame him to the local werewolf pack for their crimes of killing humans with the help of a man-eater (all of which is banned in werewolf culture), until they threaten Chloe. When he refuses to cooperate with them unless they allow her to leave safely, they decide to just kill him and take Chloe for their own pleasure, which in turn gets Derek mad. It doesn't help that when Ramon states that she is a little young for his tastes, Liam very happily says that "[he likes] them young".
  • In one The Destroyer book, a minor antagonist sincerely believes that it is not only the right, but the duty, of a true man to have sex with a woman when the opportunity presents itself, regardless of what she feels about it. He even adds that he's raped several lesbians just to "show them what they're missing out on". This serves to establish, very heavy-handedly, how utterly morally bankrupt the character is, so you'll cheer when the protagonists kill him in grisly fashion later.
  • In the Destroyermen book Crusade, one of USS Walker's enlisted, described as a "Kard-Karrying Klansmen", rapes a female Lemurian named Blas-Ma-Ar. He is summarily lynched by the rest of Walker's non-commissioned crew.
  • The Divine Comedy only dares to use the word for rape (stupro) once and it's significantly in the seventh chapter of Inferno, with the use of the perfect number and its setting in Hell suggesting that this Canto describes the perfection of evil. This "rape" Dante is describing is the unforgivable violation of the body of Heaven by Lucifer's rebellion, emptying Paradise of its angels while forcing pain, death, and evil into the cosmos. So while rapists are never given a circle of punishment in Dante's Hell, Tobias Foster Gittes uses the Poet's word choice to argue that the bottom-most and most torturous punishment is saved for the original rapist, Satan, making rape the evil God has punished more than any other.
  • In one of the Dragonriders of Pern novels, Dragoneye, one of the Lord Holders of Pern has imprisoned a number of his tenants on trumped-up charges. Two of the guards he assigns to watch over them amuse themselves by raping pregnant women. Turns out that the designated Pernese punishment for this particular crime is castration.
  • In volume 9 of the Durarara!! novel, after Izaya outsmarts Earthworm and basically orders Ran to do what he wanted with her, Ran does terrible things like set her on fire to the point that she had to roll all over the table of broken glass and get pierced in multiple parts of the body and broke her leg. He takes one look at her and implies that he was going to rape her in front of Izaya and his lackeys. However, Mikage finally steps him and outright tells Ran that he can torture her, set her on fire or even kill her. However, if he even thinks about crossing the line, she would kill him.
  • In The Folding Knife, one of the reasons why the protagonist, Basso, is so disgusted to learn that his sons raped a barmaid, is that while he thinks that theft and murder can sometimes be done for justifiable reasons (and has committed both himself), the same is not true of rape.
  • In the Honor Harrington books, the Masadans and their Church of Humanity Unchained (Defiant) do not recognize that rape is a crime. Their society is based around women as, quite literally, property. They're probably the second most evil group in the series. (The most evil is initially epitomized by Manpower (later, the Mesan Alignment), who sell lines of "pleasure slaves", who are trained from the age of twelve by being continuously raped.)
  • Young Adult novel I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga is about the son of America's most notorious Serial Killer, who at one point muses on whether it really matters whether or not a woman (always a woman) was raped before she is horribly tortured, mutilated and killed.
  • In the Kiesha'ra series, the serpiente shapeshifters have a bad reputation with their enemy avians as being very... loose with their sexual morals. In truth, as their prince, Zane, explains to the avian princess Danica, the serpiente believe that rape is a crime of the highest evil, and they will execute anyone accused of it, because, as Zane says, in those cases, "It is considered better to kill an innocent man than to let a guilty one live."
  • In Terre d'Ange, the main country in Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy series, rape is not only an unspeakable crime but also heresy because it violates their religion's central precept of "Love as Thou Wilt."
  • In the sixth book of The Legend of Drizzt series, Drizzt muses that even the assassin Artemis Entreri has his standards: he kills people left and right, but he didn't rape Catti-Brie when she was his prisoner.
  • In Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders trilogy, Captain Kennit's personal Moral Event Horizon is crossed when he drugs and rapes Althea. The dragons, who are otherwise depicted as purely selfish and completely uncaring towards "lesser beings" (i.e. humans), and will cheerfully murder and eat whomever they please, point out that this is the one thing that dragons never do. Indeed, this marks the point where Kennit's uncanny luck departs him, and he dies within a few chapters.
  • The Millennium Series and its counterpart movies show very clearly that although killing hundreds of people in horrible and torturous ways is horrific, raping and violating them beforehand will cement the serial killer in monster territory like nothing else on the face of the earth. A good yard stick is asking the question "do you think Lisbeth was doing the right thing when she killed those men?" Hands up everyone who answered "yes"?
  • Monster: A Novel of Frankenstein: The fact that Victor Frankenstein and his accomplice the Marquis de Sade are so desensitized to sexual abuse is meant to characterize them as especially vile.
    • "Sophie", a reanimated head which Victor placed in a jar, is sexually abused by the Marquis. Friedrich notes that Sophie looks as if she has lost hope afterwards.
    • Friedrich being gang-raped by noblewomen while Victor magically prevents him from resisting is played with the utmost gravity.
  • The Starfish Alien characters in Greg Egan's Orthogonal trilogy discuss this a few times. Thoroughly justified by the reproductive system of the species: Sex immediately induces reproduction, and the females reproduce by fissioning into four children. Logically, this means that it is impossible to commit rape without also committing murder.
  • In the original Gaston Leroux novel The Phantom of the Opera, Christine expects to be sexually assaulted by the Phantom during her abductions, but he actually has the decency not to do so. This after he has murdered a number of innocent people, especially via his penchant for hanging traps.
  • In Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising, Micheal Edwards executes three Russian soldiers after they've been found having raped a pregnant Icelandic civilan. This was at least partly triggered by a personal experience (his old girlfriend was brutally raped and killed).
  • The Resident Evil novels made out that several of the villains were rapists to add more evil points. Pretty accurate for Bryan Irons, but for Nicholai and Wesker, not so much.
  • In The Silmarillion, Big Bad Morgoth has committed genocide and countless betrayals and seeks nothing less than the subjugation of Middle-Earth under his absolute dominion. But the narrative goes out of its way to call out his desire to rape Lúthien as "a thought more wicked than any he had before conceived."
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: Kathryn Lucas from the book Weekend Warriors abides by this trope. Three bikers raped her in front of her husband. Those three knew that her husband was suffering from multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and seizures, so they knew that he would not be able to stop them. Interestingly, this is one of the few books where the author does not look through the viewpoint of the villain...perhaps to show that their crime is so horrible that going into their minds is too much. Kathryn also explained how she couldn't punish them legally because by the time she got around to that, the statute of limitations for her rape had run out.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire. In an online teaser chapter for the upcoming The Winds of Winter, a play called The Bloody Hand has Tyrion Lannister demonised as a scheming Richard III-type villain who rapes an innocent virgin. The real Tyrion, who has a reputation for being Depraved Dwarf, is actually a Chivalrous Pervert who refuses to bed even his wife against her will.
  • The Stone Dance of the Chameleon: In Ricardo Pinto's The Chosen you have a race of humanoids (called the Chosen) who believe they are superior to every other humanoid. As a result most commit horrific acts of torture, mutilation, mass-murder and genocide without blinking. The reader's recognition of this horror and complete culture glut for sadism comes through the eyes of the protagonist, Carnelian, who is a recently un-exiled Chosen who had spent his life secluded in a loving family where he was not brought up with these values. Yet despite everything Carnelian sees, the defining point of evil comes when Carnelian's young half-brother (who is not Chosen) sees the face of another Chosen, which is a crime where the punishment for such an offence is the removal of the offender's eyes. The so-called Chosen 'victim' of this crime tells the boy that he will trade his eyes for 'something else' and then proceeds to rape him repeatedly. This is when Carnelian sees the life go out from his brother's eyes and nothing that follows (including torture, death camps, etc.) does anything other than slightly deepen that hollowness. The rapist is easily defined as one of the more sadistic sociopaths in the Chosen hierarchy, and It's at this point when the evil status of his entire race is established, and Carnelian realizes it.
  • In the Sword of Shadows series, Mace Blackhail is always portrayed as a slimy opportunist looking to grab as much power as he can within the Clanholds, but it's his rape of Raina (the clan chief's widow and his main opponent) which is his Moral Event Horizon, cementing him as a truly evil character who needs to go down hard.
  • Boba Fett from Tales of the Bounty Hunters. It's a short story starts with 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. The mercenary refuses to touch her, claiming that it is immoral, and is willing to give her the bed. ("I won't hurt you," he says. "I won't touch you. Sleep if you will. Or not; I don't care.") He does, however, try to act "holier than thou" by making it seem like this makes him better because he sees the Rebellion as morally wrong. (Of course, he doesn't question anything his current employer does as morally wrong, and the reason he doesn't send her back is because that would be insulting Jabba.)
  • Played with in the book version of Thunderball. Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the leader of SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion), learns one of the group's agents has slept with a woman kidnapped for ransom, though it's not clear that she was in fact raped. He immediately orders that agent killed and half the ransom payment returned to the woman's father; Blofeld reasons that whatever actually happened, it's better for SPECTRE to be known for honoring its deals.
  • In order to illustrate the roughness of the frontier and to cement the heroic status of the title character in the Vampire Hunter D books, it seems like every male character who isn't named D is a serial rapist.
  • In the Wicked Lovely series, the dark court's treatment of Niall. Physically abused and tortured? Harsh, but understandable. Physically scarred for life? It's in their nature. Emotionally scarred for life? It's still in their nature. Raped? They are pure evil.
  • In the Wild Cards series, the Takisian's have this attitude as a society. Although the ruling Psi Lords possess Telepathy and Mind Control powers, and will happily compel servants to fetch them a drink, rape is considered a far worse crime than murder in their society. The mere suggestion of it will cause intense outrage and rapists are regarded as being hopelessly depraved. The trope is invoked to emphasize that Blaise is irredeemably evil, even by the standards of their intrigue-laden society.
  • Given that his works are set in violent and brutal times full of violent and brutal men, Bernard Cornwell often has to go to some lengths to make sure his heroes subscribe to this view. Typically he does this by giving them a personal connection to at least one rape victim — Derfel has Nimue, Uhtred has Hilde and Thyra, and Thomas of Hookton has Jeanette. Note that this does not apply to the wider setting — all of the above are friends with men who do not share their scruples, and it's all but stated that Thomas was also a habitual rapist before he spent weeks taking care of a traumatised Jeanette.
  • Strange the Dreamer: Among all the evil acts the Mesarthim committed, the one that pushes them over the brink in the eyes of their human servants is their wanton abduction of teenage boys and girls, many of whom were raped or coerced magically into sex.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The basic premise of the first season of 13 Reasons Why is that a high-school girl, Hannah, had recently committed suicide; before doing so, she made a series of cassette tapes with the reasons. Additionally, Hannah's parents are suing the school for allowing her to be Driven to Suicide. In the episode about Tape 6 Side B, several of the accused meet to decide what to say in the deposition; one of them suggests that they blame it all on Bryce, since her accusations against him - rape - are more serious than anything the people present in this meeting had ever done.
  • In Season 4 of Angel, Angelus makes a return appearance, a being that spent centuries torturing and murdering who knows how many people of all ages in the most brutal methods he could devise (and he is very inventive). But apparently that wasn't enough, as the writers have Angelus make constant sexual comments and threats towards both Cordelia and Fred, and even agrees to provide the information they want after Cordelia offers herself to him in every sense of the word.
  • In the reimagined Battlestar Galactica episode "Pegasus", many of the crew, including Captain Adama, are uncertain how precisely to handle the "incident" where the Cylon interrogator from the Pegasus tried to rape Sharon while questioning her. One of the exceptions is Doctor Cottle, one of the most upright and moral characters on the show, who bluntly states that what they tried to do to Sharon was "unforgivable."
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Spike is a soulless demon who has tortured and killed hundreds. Yet he remains the Loveable Rogue, up to the point in Season 6 when he tries to rape Buffy. At that point, he even loses the sympathy of Dawn, who used to think he was pretty cool. More importantly, the attempt even shocks Spike himself, and sends him down the road that leads to him regaining his soul.
    • Equally pointedly, this is the only Spike behavior that Buffy really has a problem with since at least Season 4 if not earlier. Apparently every other despicable thing Spike did on-camera and had done in his past was forgivable from Buffy's point-of-view.
    • A later scene with Spike also hammers this trope home. Spike, who now has a soul, tells Buffy she has to kill him before he hurts anyone else. To convince her, he warns her that if he goes evil again, he is liable to hurt Dawn — which includes raping her. Apparently the image of Dawn being tortured and killed isn't enough; Spike has to threaten her with rape to get Buffy's attention.
    • Also, Warren's Moral Event Horizon comes when he tries to rape, and then kills, his ex-girlfriend, Katrina. The "kills" is probably the more important part of that equation, but the attempted rape definitely takes him several degrees down the spectrum towards villainy. The point is driven home with Lampshade Hanging and Mood Whiplash. The Trio has used a mind control device on Warren's ex; this is initially played for laughs as they make her dress up in a French maid outfit and serve drinks. Just as Warren is about to realize the Power Perversion Potential of his invention, however, she snaps out of it—and the tone immediately gets much darker as she angrily points out that there's nothing funny—and everything immoral and illegal—about what they were doing to her.
    • Just to show that enjoying killing is not enough and show that she has really become evil, Faith attempts to rape and kill Xander. It's so wrong former Mind Rapist Angel intervenes. With a baseball bat.
    • Part of Faith's attempts to hurt Buffy after stealing her body was to seduce Riley, essentially raping both of them. This is treated as Faith's Moral Event Horizon, to the point where subsequent episodes revolve around it, Angel doesn't want to talk about it once he finds out, and after using it for motivation to stop Faith (he immediately tries to shoot her first chance he gets) Buffy shows up to kill her, and since Angel won't is willing to go through him to do so. It's even a special kind of evil for Faith, as after she does the deed is disgusted, then believes she is a monster on par with Angelus and becomes a Death Seeker.
  • In Criminal Minds, killers can have psychiatric and psychotic compulsions and reasons behind the murders they perpetrate which are understandable. Paedophiles and rapists have absolutely no such out at all. And considering how much insight this show gives into the minds of the serial killers and victimisers, that's really saying something.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship", Solomon's barely-euphemistic speech about how he'll enjoy raping Nefertiti is clearly a major reason why the Doctor cold-bloodedly kills him with a most uncharacteristic Pre-Mortem One-Liner.
  • In Dollhouse, it's notable that amoral-seeming Topher makes his Sudden Principled Stand when he's ordered to permanently turn Sierra over to Nolan Kinnard.
  • Farscape:
    • The episode "Crackers Don't Matter": under the influence of the episode's villain, Crichton begins going progressively insane, and attacks the rest of the crew (most of which are also insane) in a hallucination-riddled frenzy. However, it is his (and Harvey's) contemplation of raping Chiana that really indicates just how deranged Crichton has become.
    • A measure of exactly how evil and utterly terrifying the Scarrans are is the fact that they rape everything. Both physical violation and Mind Rape as well. It's one of the reasons why Scorpius hates the Scarrans so much.
  • Firefly:
    • Referenced in this quote:
      Shepherd Book: If you take sexual advantage of her, you're going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater.
    • This is part of the reason why Jubal Early is considered a monster, with his threats to rape Kaylee and the implications he might have done the same to River if he'd captured her.
    • While much less serious, a comment Jayne makes in the pilot about Simon's cargo (River in a box) helps solidify his role as the Token Evil Teammate:
      Jayne: It's a girl. She's cute, too, but I don't think she's all there, y'know?
  • Game of Thrones. Sandor Clegane, dying in agony miles from aid with a broken femur, invokes this trope to get Arya Stark to Mercy Kill him, saying he should have raped her sister Sansa so he'd have had at least one happy memory. It doesn't work, or you could say it works too well as Arya leaves him there to die slowly.
  • On The Jay Leno Show, Chris Rock said:
    Chris Rock: Rape's number two. It's murder, then rape. The United States, we want to capture Osama Bin Laden and murder him. We don't want to rape him. That would be barbaric!
  • The entire premise behind Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is pretty much this trope, and rapists on any crime procedural are likely to face a harsher response from the cast than murderers. They even hung an episode-long lampshade on the fact that they treat rapists more harshly than any other kind of criminal. During this episode, a man was accused of raping a minor, and was basically treated like crap by the cops despite his pleas of innocence. When he complained of being attacked by other prisoners, the cops responded with "You deserve it." Turns out, he really was innocent (and being railroaded by the woman he supposedly raped... she was 24 but looked younger, by the way), trying to scam the hotel for a big settlement, and... oops... the accused rapist was murdered by another prisoner before he could be released. That made the "girl" legally culpable for murder.
  • In the UK crime series Legal Scares which takes place in Florida, one of the episodes features Mark Partson, a ruthless underworld killer who is responsible for over 10,000 deaths as well as countless thefts and drug deals. He ends up confessing to all of his crimes practically asking for a death sentence after his boss backstabs him and says he will rape an innocent random young woman unless he does so. When he turns himself in, when asked why he has done so he answers:
    Mark Partson: It's better for a lowlife like be to have his life ruined then an innocent girl. That girl did shit to no-one, so he won't do shit to her...
  • One episode of Quantum Leap has Sam leap into a young rape victim; initially he, Al, and their Mission Control assume that he's supposed to get the rapist convicted, but because the guy comes from a rich and famous family he manages to beat the rap. Then he goes after the girl again, at which point Sam realizes why he's really here and beats the everloving crap out of him; we don't see the end result, but presumably the rapist couldn't escape conviction a second time.
  • In the season finale of season two of Robin Hood, Guy of Gisborne states that he will "take Marian by force." This is the darkest the character ever gets, and a few scenes later he murders Marian in a scene that has obvious sexual imagery. Believe it or not, the writers do manage to give him a redemption arc in the next season, but it's of the kind that has him denounce his entire life as one that was "lived in shame" and which holds out no hope whatsoever that he'll be reunited with Marian in the afterlife.
  • There are not many things Richard from Sharpe will not do. Most of them involve harming civilians, and rape is top of the list. And if he catches someone else doing it, he will kill them and damn the consequences.
  • One of the most unsympathetic characters (among so many unsympathetic characters) on The Sopranos must be Dr. Melfi's rapist, Jesus Rossi. Obviously this is also an example of Protagonist-Centered Morality: Tony may be a thug and a murderer, but the most he does to his shrink is to swear at her and break her furniture. Still, Tony would have been much less attractive to the audience — and to Melfi — were he guilty of rape.
  • When the League of American Nationalists first show up in Sons of Anarchy, as if being a bunch of Nazis isn't enough, they abduct and gang-rape Gemma. This is done for no other reason than to enrage Clay.
  • An episode of Saturday Night Live featuring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson had him playing a Mad Scientist at a contest to see who could create the most evil machine in the world. While fellow mad scientists build the likes of a Shrink Ray and a Freeze Ray, Dwayne's character builds a child-molesting robot (which he made by building a normal robot, and then molesting it until it learned to pass on this action onto children). The other 'evil' scientists are completely mortified at the concept and try and have Dwyane's character banned from the contest ... before the sketch turns into a commercial for White Castle.

  • The Raveonettes song "Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)" from In and Out of Control picks out rape as a particularly heinous crime that can indefinitely traumatise the victim.

    Mythology & Religion 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dog Town, a crime-noir RPG where player characters commit all kinds of criminal acts, has rape, sodomy and doing bad things to children listed under "Perv Crimes," the lowest-of-the-low stuff that's enough to make any "decent respectable criminal" want to vomit, or at the very least "shorten the lives" of the "miserable fuckers" who do these things.
  • This is the reason why F.A.T.A.L. is notorious as the worst game ever created. It averts this trope most gruesomely. In the FATAL universe, women are more heavily punished for keeping an untidy house than men are for being rapists. The fact that the writers seem almost gleeful during the discussions of rape certainly contributes. Rather famously, when one reviewer called FATAL "the date rape RPG," one of the co-authors responded "Where does it say anything about dating?"
  • Scarred Lands:
  • This is the reason why servants of Slaanesh in Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 are considered nightmarish even by Chaos standards. Khorne followers maim-burn-kill, Tzeentch followers manipulate, and Nurgle followers are genuinely friendly, but Slaanesh followers will inflict unimaginable tortures for their own pleasure, death being a gift. Granted, rape is far from the only tool in their considerable arsenal, but it is certainly used.


    Video Games 
  • The first half of Anchorhead is largely devoted to digging up the unsavory backstory of the Verlacs, the family behind the titular Town with a Dark Secret. You pretty much know that the Big Bad is a monster when you find out he's been raping his own daughters to sire grandsons (his trying to summon an Eldritch Abomination just isn't quite evil enough).
  • Half-Orcs and Half-Ogres in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura are subjected to a lot of Fantastic Racism, partly because everyone assumes that at some point in their ancestry, a male orc or ogre violated an unwilling human woman. In the case of Half-Ogres, the reality is worse; not only are they born of rape, but some gnomes are actively force-breeding ogres with humans because their offspring make brilliant bodyguards. You can visit a factory farm which was once used for this purpose; it's one of the most disturbing areas in the game.
  • Assault on Dark Athena: The sadistic Jaylor expresses his intent to rape Silverman, and asks Riddick to "rile her up" for him. Riddick refuses and replies that he just murders people.
  • In Conquests of the Longbow, Robin always arranges for Friar Tuck to give anyone he or his men kill in Sherwood Forest a proper burial... except for the would-be rapist, who is dragged off the road and left out for the wolves and ravens.
  • Dead Island has as part of the story quest rescuing Jin from the police station, overrun by criminals. Throughout the mission it's hinted that this is exactly what happened to Jin, and the characters pull a Let's Get Dangerous! moment when dealing with the gangsters. Later at the prison the hardened thugs make no bones about using a rape threat to show they are the worst of the worst.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, rape or threats of rape can help you distinguish a villain who simply must die from most enemies/villains who can be reasoned with and in some cases redeemed.
  • Daedric Prince Molag Bal in The Elder Scrolls is one of several Satanic Archetypes of the setting, and has the title of King of Rape with vampirism stemming from one of his victims who died from the ordeal and Came Back Wrong. Unlike the other Princes (yes, even Dagon of all people), Bal is the only one with zero redeeming qualities.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, the Fiends are Always Chaotic Evil because they're constantly baked out of their skulls. But Cook-Cook, the Flamer-wielding rapist (and yes, those two do go hand-in-hand with him), is the only Fiend everyone in the Mojave hates by name and often will pay you for having killed. Caesar's Legion is also said to rape women, but this is mostly said in passing and takes a back seat to the slaving and mass murder.
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake: During a board meeting, the Shinra executives eagerly talk about wanting to torture Aerith to get the information they want. However, when Professor Hojo talks about wanting to turn Aerith into a Breeding Slave for the members of SOLDIER so he can study any resulting children, the executives are all disgusted and President Shinra quickly ends the meeting.
  • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones has a few scenes where Caellach and Riev explain how cruel Valter's behavior is, due to the way he is implied to victimize women. Keep in mind that Caellach is a sociopathic Professional Killer who killed Queen Ismaire and Riev is a fallen priest who worships evil.
    Caellach: [to Carlyle] I'm not like that freak Valter. I'm kind to women.
    [and later...]
    Riev: Ah, Valter... You're a beast. You're bound to no country. You care nothing for friend or foe. Kill a man, claim a woman... You live for nothing more, you wretched beast.
  • Mass Effect 2 has this when you discover Jacob's father and what he and his officers had been doing to the mentally impaired female crew of their crashed ship for the last decade. They were forced along with the other men of the crew to eat the toxic food of the planet they crash-landed on, resulting in neural decay. Along with all the other crap that went down, it's mentioned that the men were separated from the women and that the women were assigned to the officers like pets. In a game full of omnicidal robotic entities, criminals, terrorists, murderers, and other assorted scumbags, he comes across as a special sort of disgusting. Indeed, this is the one time in the entire game where Jacob is thoroughly disgusted by what he sees. The neutral option is to let Ronald be torn apart by the zombie resistance he had kicked out and hunted down. None of the other squadmates, good or evil, cares, and Jacob himself states that he's so pathetic he's not worth killing.
  • Nippon Ichi are pretty big on this trope:
    • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness , after Jennifer asks Laharl if demons molested him in chapter 9, Laharl asks in a rather offended voice what she thought demons were. Though this scene was supposed to be funny, it shows that Nippon-verse demons draw the line at molestation.
    • In Makai Kingdom, it is shown just what kind of bastard Seedle was when several demons (overlords at that) were absolutely disgusted with him when he is revealed to have been an attempted rapist. Luckily, Salome killed him instead of being raped by him. When he recounts the story like he was wronged, Alex, who until this point had a one track mind on defeating Zetta, drops everything to kick Seedle's ass.
    • In Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, Hawthorne is revealed to be an evil bastard after the discovery that he is a serial rapist. It's not just casual rape, either. He deliberately raises an orphan girl until adulthood, developing a strong child-parent bond, and then rapes and kills her on her birthday. And then he starts over with a new one.
  • Infocom's Plundered Hearts, which features a set female protagonist in a historical setting, has a scene where the heroine runs the risk of being raped by the evil nobleman Jean Lafond. Should the player do nothing, the game will abruptly end with one sentence telling that he took her to bed followed by "You have suffered a Fate Worse than Death" and an abrupt game over. Thwarting this attempt and escaping with her virtue still intact is the goal of that scene — and when the heroine's love interest hears about the attempt, he's more determined to kill Lafond than ever. (Lafond had previously killed Captain Jamison's brother — but this clearly pushes Lafond over into monster territory.)
  • Big Bad Bear in Return to Krondor is implied to have committed the heinous crime of rape on Talia. Naturally, everyone wants him stone dead.
  • Splinter Cell: Conviction has an early flashback where robbers break into Sam's home and discuss raping his wife, resulting in him killing them with his daughter as a witness.
  • This trope crops up often in Adam Cadre's Varicella, featuring a Villain Protagonist in a Sick Sad World where just about everyone who has any real power is a monster. The King has just died, and Palace Minister Primo Varicella intends to claim the Regency. Varicella is clearly a vain, egotistical Jerkass who routinely fires his staff for leaving specks of dirt on the floor, and is not above murdering his rivals to get himself closer to obtaining Regency. But all that's not so bad compared to his rivals, four of which have raped people on several occasions (two of them bribe an asylum guard to rape a mentally ill woman, another gasses a woman to rape her, and the other is a Pedophile Priest whose main target is the young prince). So of course, the player is most likely to sympathize with Varicella and go along with his plans because the player wants to see those monsters punished.

  • Butch from Chopping Block, a serial killer in a hockey mask, is quite offended when his female victims cry rape as he drags them into the alley, 'cause he's not some kind of sicko pervert.
  • Played straight with Stunt from Dominic Deegan. He has, aside from Character Development, always been a semi-violent misogynist but still reacts with shock to the implication that he'd be using "Sin City Specials".
  • Drowtales:
    • Murder, slavery, gladiatorial combat, etc., are commonplace, but when Rikshakar kidnaps and attempts to rape Ariel Val'Sarghress (here), it's Moral Event Horizon crossing time! He has tried this once before and failed due to interference, but this made Ariel realize how truly fucked in the head he is. It also makes more sense that she doesn't at first recognize what he was trying to do when you remember that drow have a very open view of sexuality, so the idea of forcing someone into sex would seem odd to them.
    • There's also an interesting variation in the fandom's eyes, mainly how Quain'tana is seen to have crossed the Moral Event Horizon to many with the reveal that she'd ordered her daughter Mel'arnach raped to try and conceive and heir. It has been well established that she was a horribly abusive parent, but to many fans this seemed especially callous and cruel. This is a case where Quain'tana herself (apparently) didn't commit the actual act, but everyone agrees that the onus fell on her for ordering it, resulting in an interesting aversion of Double Standard: Rape, Female on Female (sort of).
  • In Goblins, Dellyn Goblinslayer crossed the Moral Event Horizon long before we find out he raped Kin on a nightly basis. Nevertheless, the trope fits, as Minmax, who himself had just suggested killing Kin not five minutes before, turns on Goblinslayer the moment he learns about the rape.
  • ICE has a scene where two assassins shoot a contact who has demonstrated he enjoys watching security footage of rape.

    Web Original 
  • BuzzFeed Unsolved: Ryan and Shane both have this stance. In the True Crime videos, they discuss kidnappers, torturers, and Serial Killers, but rapists always get the most amount of scorn. Notably, finding out Ken Rex McElroy (a man who was murdered in front of sixty witnesses, none of whom revealed who the killer was) sexually assaulted multiple teenage girls along with every other horrible thing he did is what causes Shane to outright say that McElroy deserved what he got. Ryan also warns the audience before getting into the details of sexual assaults, so anyone who may be triggered can skip that part.
  • Since murder is a common element of Survival of the Fittest, frequently being committed by even heroic characters, the truly awful villains are often characterised by rape or torture. Rapists include Adam Reeves, Cody Jenson and Walter Smith, and the act is considered the Moral Event Horizon for each.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


I was wrong to speak of mercy

Toyohisa was willing to spare surrendering Orte soldiers despite all the things he'd seen them do, until he learned the true dept of their dishonor.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (31 votes)

Example of:

Main / RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil

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