new (?) definition of rape

David Barnhart dbarnhart at HIGHLANDS.COM
Fri Jan 6 20:10:18 UTC 2012

>From the e-OED:


 <javascript:void(0)> Thesaurus >

a.     Originally and chiefly: the act or crime, committed by a man, of
forcing a woman to have sexual intercourse with him against her will, esp.
by means of threats or violence. In later use more generally: the act of
forced, non-consenting, or illegal sexual intercourse with another person;
sexual violation or assault.

The precise legal definition of rape has varied over time and between legal
systems. Historically, rape was considered to be the act of a man forcing a
woman other than his wife to have intercourse against her will, but recently
the definition has broadened. Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, in the
United Kingdom the crime of rape includes the penile penetration of the
vagina, anus, or mouth of another person of either sex, where consent to the
act has not been given. This includes marital rape: in 1992 the House of
Lords, in its judicial capacity, decided that the previous understanding
(i.e. that a wife had given an irrevocable consent to intercourse) was no
longer part of the law. Sexual penetration of a child under the age of 13
also constitutes rape irrespective of whether consent is obtained. In the
United States the precise criminal definition of rape varies from state to

date, gay, male, statutory rape, etc.: see the first element.

Looks to me like Britain got there way before us in the US.

Maybe this will be the Legal WOTY for 2012.



Barnhart at

The American Dialect Society -

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