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Abstract

If rape is evaluated as a serious wrong, can it also be defined as non-consensual sex (NCS)? Many do not see all instances of NCS as seriously wrongful. I argue that rape is both properly defined as NCS and properly evaluated as a serious wrong. First, I distinguish the hurtfulness of rape from its wrongfulness; secondly, I classify its harms and characterize its essential wrongfulness; thirdly, I criticize a view of rape as merely ‘sex minus consent’; fourthly, I criticize mistaken attempts to discount the wrongfulness of rape for those who do not value sex; fifthly, I contrast two models for weighing interests, according to one of which rape is not seriously wrongful; finally, I sketch a defence of the view that our sexual integrity ought to be a central interest of ours.