Rape is a criminal offense which is usually classified as a violent felony. Every state in the United States has laws regarding rape which define the offense, although the wording may vary slightly across different states.
Rape is defined as unlawful sexual intercourse without the consent of an individual, regardless of the gender of the victim. There are many different situations in which an individual may be charged with rape, which includes:
- When an individual engages in sexual conduce with another individual against their will or without the consent of the other individual by using:
- fear; or
- When an individual engages in sexual activity with another individual who is too intoxicated to consent;
- When an individual engages in sexual conduct with another individual who suffers from a mental or physical disability which prevents them from being able to consent to the sexual conduct; and
- When an individual engages in sexual conduct with another individual who is incapacitated, which means that the victim was unaware that they are engaging in a sexual act, for example, an individual who is asleep.
What are Some Different Categories of Rape?
There are different types of rape which can be categorized depending upon the factors which are present, including the ages of the individuals involved and their relationship. The different types of rape a defendant may be charged with include:
Statutory rape is defined as unlawful sexual intercourse with an individual who is younger than the age of consent, regardless of whether or not the sexual conduct was consensual. The age of consent varies by state and may range from 16 to 18 years of age.
If an individual who is 19 years of age has sexual intercourse with an individual who is two years younger than they are may face criminal charges. If the age of consent in that state is 18, the older individual may face statutory rape charges.
Date rape occurs when unlawful sexual intercourse is committed during a social engagement between the defendant and the victim. Date rape can also occur when the victim is drugged and the perpetrator has sexual intercourse with that individual.
Marital rape is rape which occurs in marriage. Marital rape occurs when one spouse forces a sexual act upon their spouse without their consent.
Marital rape has not always been recognized as a criminal offense. Currently, however, it is not considered to be a serious crime where the defendant is not permitted to use their marriage as a defense in the rape case.
It is important to note that rape is a criminal act which may occur in many different ways if certain criteria are met, not just in those situations mentioned above. Additionally, in some states, rape is divided into degrees based upon the seriousness of the offense.
First degree rape can include severe physical injuries and typically carries harsher punishments than second degree rape. Second degree rape may not involve any injuries beyond the incident itself.
What are Some Traditional Rape Laws, Misconceptions, and Social Stigmas?
The traditional definition of rape under state laws was when a man forces a woman to engage in sexual intercourse. This traditional notion of how rape occurs may be reinforced by various misconceptions and social stigmas.
For example, many individuals believe that it is not possible for a woman to rape a man because their response is voluntary. However, this is not the case and the response is involuntary.
In addition, many individuals believe that women are unable to rape men because they are weaker and smaller. This is also untrue, as women are also capable of physically injuring men and forcing themselves upon them.
In addition, a female rapist may compel a male to engage in sexual activity through the treat of a weapon or by the use of a date rape drug. Many individuals also believe that a woman cannot rape a man because men always desire to engage in sexual activity.
This is a social stigma which is not true and should not be used as a basis for finding consent from a man.
Can a Woman be Prosecuted for Raping a Man?
Yes, a woman may be prosecuted for raping a man. Although a minority of states still use the traditional definition of rape, the majority have amended their rape laws to make them gender neutral or have added new laws which criminalize other forced sexual acts.
Pursuant to these statutes, a woman may be charged with raping a man or another woman with same sex rape. In addition, a woman may be charged with statutory rape of minor boys who are under the age of consent.
There have been several widely publicized cases of female-male statutory rape in the United States which involved school teachers being accused of raping their teenage male students. In addition, in states which do not recognize female-male rape, any unwanted sexual touching may still be classified as assault or sexual abuse.
What are Some Possible Consequences of being Charged with Rape?
There are several consequences which an individual may face if they are charged with rape. A defendant may face a felony conviction if they are convicted of rape, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Additionally, a defendant may be required to register as a sex offender if they are convicted of rape. A conviction resulting in this requirement comes with many requirements and restrictions that an individual will be required to follow for many years, and, in some cases, their entire lives.
Rape charges may also cause an individual to have issues at their place of employment, at school, or in their personal lives.
What are the Penalties for a Conviction of Rape?
Rape is a serious criminal offense and, as discussed above, is considered to be a violent felony. The penalty of a rape conviction may vary by state and will depend upon the facts and circumstances of each unique case.
A conviction, however, is likely to result in incarceration for a defendant. The length of time that a defendant will be required to serve in prison will depend upon the severity of the offense and whether or not the defendant has a prior conviction for rape or other felonies.
In certain cases, a rape conviction may result in a life sentence for a defendant, depending upon the facts which are presented at trial. The potential penalties and incarceration time will increase if the offense involves a minor or if the offense results in the death of the victim.
There are some states that require a minimum prison sentence or that may require a court to impose a sentence which does not include early parole or probation. In other states, a court may have discretion regarding the length of a defendant’s sentence.
A court may also have discretion regarding whether a defendant is permitted to serve any portion of their sentence on probation instead of in prison.
Do I Need a Lawyer if I am a Woman Charged With Raping a Man?
Rape is an extremely serious charge that can have very severe consequences. If you are charged with raping a male, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Your lawyer can advise you regarding the laws in your state and will ensure that your rights are protected. Your lawyer will defend you in court and appear with you any time you are required to be present in court.