Catholic Dictionary




In ecclesiastical law the crime of forcing a woman, against her will, to have sexual intercourse. Besides the mortal sin against chastity, it is a grave sin against justice to ravish a woman. Rape can be committed by the use of phusical or moral force, including fraud and deceit; likewise, in a sin committed with a woman who has not the use of reason, whether mentally deranged or under the influence of drink or drugs. A woman being ravished must offer internal resistance absolutely, in not consenting with the will; and such external resistance as is possible without endangering her life or reputation. (Etym. Latin rapere, to seize.)