Rape (also known as sexual assault) is the penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth with an object by someone who cannot consent.

There are several types of Rape. Typically, Rape is defined as intercourse with someone without their consent. Rapes occur under various circumstances and have two standard definitions.

The first is aggravated Rape, which involves intercourse with someone physically or psychologically incapacitated. For example, some jurisdictions consider Rape to be disturbed if there were severe physical violence, threats of violence, or even if the defense was impaired by alcohol or other drugs.

Statutory Rape is sometimes called "unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor." It's a term used to describe sexual relations between two people under the age of consent, either by force or by taking advantage of their incapacity to approve. Different jurisdictions have different rules regarding what period counts as "minor."

Definitions defining a crime as a rape versus a lesser crime such as sexual battery vary by jurisdiction. Sometimes Rape is colloquially relatively synonymous with sexual assault.
Please note that you agree to let FutureLearn send you essential emails by completing this form. We may also use your details to show you more relevant courses and offers from FutureLearn and other organizations. We will not sell your data.

The absence of consent to sexual intercourse may be critical to proving any rape case. However, permission can be initially given, then withdrawn. For example, a spouse may rape another even though the very act of marriage may be considered a form of consent to an ongoing sexual relationship.

Statutory Rape in some states allows a person to be held liable for consensual sex with a minor, regardless of how carefully they were verifying the other person's age. Young people seemingly want to have sex with someone of the opposite gender and their age, then rely on the fact that the other person cannot legally provide consent. So, even if the two parties to the act considered themselves "dating" or were 19-20 years old, each minor is 16 or younger, and the sex is consensual, both can be liable for prosecution.

Some jurisdictions give such strict sexual consent laws that people even have to take precautions against being convicted of violating laws making sexual contact with a minor. This includes asking the minor's age, looking at identification cards (which may not be authentic), and other measures.

However, even if the cautious person took all of those precautions and the minority turned out to be seventeen years old or, in some jurisdictions, more senior, the careful person could still be convicted of criminal sexual conduct because the other person is a minor.

Caution should be exercised in adopting laws such as those of North Dakota. Such laws create problems because they tend to punish more severely what one might call "gray" situations than what may be analogous might be called "black" situations.

Marital Rape Marital rape was not recognized as a criminal act until the past century. By contrast, women were considered the property of their husbands and therefore incapable of withholding consent at once.

When a drug, such as Rophenol (commonly referred to as "roofies"), is intentionally placed into food or beverages by an attacker to incapacitate or intoxicate a person so that they are easily susceptible to giving consent to sexual intercourse, it is referred to as "date rape." Date rape is considered a form of Rape in which the victim is usually an acquaintance of the attacker. Because of the nature of this crime, many states enacted enhanced penalties against its perpetrators.