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Crime: Rape of Women

Autor:   •  March 8, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,412 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,263 Views

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n Greek mythology, for example, the rape of women, as explained by the rape of Europa, and male rape, found in the myth of Laius and Chrysippus, were mentioned. Different values were ascribed to the two actions. The rape of Europa by Zeus is represented as an abduction followed by consensual lovemaking, similar perhaps to the rape of Ganymede by Zeus, and went unpunished. The rape of Chrysippus by Laius, however, is represented in darker terms, and was known in antiquity as "the crime of Laius", a term which came to be applied to all male rape. It was seen as an example of hubris in the original sense of the word, i.e. violent outrage, and its punishment was so severe that it destroyed not only Laius himself, but also his son, Oedipus.

[edit] What type of crime?

In some cultures, rape was seen less as a crime against a particular girl or woman than as a crime against the head of the household or against chastity. As a consequence, the rape of a virgin was often a more serious crime than of a non-virgin, even a wife or widow, and the rape of a prostitute or other unchaste woman was, in some laws, not a crime because her chastity could not be harmed. Furthermore, the woman's consent was under many legal systems not a defense. In seventeenth-century France, even marriage without parental consent was classified as rape.[1]

The penalty for rape was often a fine, payable to the father or the husband whose "goods" were "damaged".[2] That position was later replaced in many cultures by the view that the woman, as well as her lord, should share the fine equally.[citation needed]

In some laws the woman might marry the rapist instead of his receiving the legal penalty. This was especially prevalent in laws where the crime of rape did not include, as a necessary part, that it be against the woman's will, thus dividing the crime in the current meaning of rape, and a means for a couple to force their families to permit marriage.

[edit] Pagan and Christian conceptions

Tarquinius Sextus and Lucretia by Titian

In pagan Rome, it was expected that an honorable woman, being raped, would like Lucretia remove the stain on her honor by committing suicide. The failure of Christian women, having been raped in the sack of Rome, to kill themselves was commented on by pagans with shock and horror; St. Augustine dedicated an entire book of The City of God to defending these women's honor and chastity and virginity. Early Christianity also maintained, as paganism did not, that slave women were entitled to chastity, and that therefore a slave woman could be raped, and honored as martyrs slave women who resisted their masters.

In Roman law, the crime of rape was not defined by the lack of consent of the woman, but by her removal from her family; the change


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