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  1. Kate L. McDonald,
  2. Mary P. Koss

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0772

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

McDonald, K. L. and Koss, M. P. 2010. Rape. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. University of Arizona

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


According to the Centers for Disease Control, rape is the nonconsensual completed or attempted penetration, however slight, of the vulva or anus by the penis, hand, finger, or other object. Rape occurs if a person cannot give consent (e.g. because of age, disability, or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol) or cannot refuse (e.g. because of the use of weapons, physical violence, or coercion; Basile & Saltzman, 2002). Laws defining rape vary by state, but in contrast to older definitions, rape is no longer limited to female victims or vaginal penetration alone, and spouses are no longer excluded as possible perpetrators. Social scientists describe many forms of rape, including child rape, rape by acquaintances and dates, punitive rape, forced prostitution, rape in war, and genocidal rape. In general, the rape of women is 10 times more common than the rape of men, and perpetrators are almost always males regardless of the sex of the victim (United States Department of Justice, 2006).


  • rape;
  • sexual assault;
  • acquaintance rape;
  • intoxication;
  • rape prevention