Types of Rape: The Different Forms of Rape
There are several types of rape. Rape is a violent crime involving sexual acts forced on one person by another. Rape is technically defined as forced penetration (with any body part or object) including anal, vaginal or oral intercourse. Rape is illegal and while the term "rape" specifies penetration, other sexual acts not involving penetration, when forced on someone, are also illegal.
The forms of rape may be specified based on who is committing the rape, who the rape victim is and the specific actions involved in the rape. Some types of rape are considered much more severe than others. For example, any type of rape resulting in someone's death is punishable by death in the United States.
Diminished Capacity Rape
The type of rape known as diminished capacity rape is committed when one person forces sexual penetration on another person who cannot consent to the sex act. People with diminished capacity can't consent to sexual acts due to limited physical or intellectual ability. An example would be a person with an intellectual disability.
Diminished capacity rape also takes place when a person has no ability to consent to sexual acts due to intoxication.1
Another form of rape is age-related. This type of rape is often known as statutory rape as specified both in federal and state law. In this case, sexual actions with a person below a minimum age is considered illegal in all cases. Often this age is 12. There is often another age, known as the age of consent. Sexual acts with a person above the minimum age but below the age of consent may be considered rape depending on the perpetrator. Specific ages are specified by state.
Incest is a type of rape dictated by the relationship between the two parties. When the two parties involved in the sex act are closely related (in other words, they are family), it is often rape. Examples of incest include:2
- Parents and children
- Uncles and nieces or nephews
- Aunts and nieces or nephews
Laws vary by state as to specifically what constitutes incest.
- Family members account for 7% of rapists
Partner rape, also known as spousal rape or marital rape, is a type of rape involving a person's partner or previous partner (no matter whether the partners are married). There are three types of partner rape:
- Battering rape – involving both physical and sexual violence
- Force-only rape – involving the imposition of power and control over another
- Obsessive/Sadistic rape – involving torture and perverse sexual acts
This type of rape happens between two people that know each other. Often acquaintance rape is known as "date rape" as the two people involved may be in a social relationship at the time. Some victims don't recognize acquaintance rape as rape but it's important to remember that consent for sexual activity can be revoked at any time and a prior relationship does not mean that rape cannot occur.
- Two-out-of-three sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows
Aggravated rape is a type of rape defined in the law. Aggravated rape involves:
- Forced sex acts by threat of death or serious bodily injury
- Forced sex acts involving an unconscious or drugged victim
- Sex acts with children under the age of 12
Other Types of Rape
Rape can occur in many other ways as well, including by strangers or in conjunction to a hate crime. However, it's critical to remember that whatever form of rape occurs, it is always the fault of the rapist and never the fault of the victim.
Last Updated: 26 May 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD