Rape pornography

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Rape pornography is a subgenre of pornography involving the description or depiction of rape. It can show simulated or real rape. It is not the same as the depiction of rape in non-pornographic media. Simulated scenes of rape and other forms of sexual violence have appeared in mainstream cinema, including rape and revenge films, almost since its advent.[1]

The legality of simulated rape pornography varies among jurisdictions of the world. It is controversial because of the argument that it encourages people to commit rape. However, studies of the issue produce conflicting results.[2]

The creation of real rape pornography is a sex crime in countries where rape is illegal. Real rape pornography, including child rape pornography, is created for profit and other reasons.[3]

Rape pornography, as well revenge porn and other similar subgenres depicting violence, have been associated with rape culture.[4][5][6]


United Kingdom[edit]

The possession of rape pornography is illegal in Scotland, England and Wales.

In Scotland, the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 criminalised possession of "extreme" pornography. This included depictions of rape, and "other non-consensual penetrative sexual activity, whether violent or otherwise", including those involving consenting adults and images that were faked.[7] The maximum penalty is an unlimited fine and 3 years imprisonment.[8] The law is not often used, and it resulted in only one prosecution during the first four years that it was in force.[9]

In England and Wales it took another five years before pornography which depicts rape (including simulations involving consenting adults) was made illegal in England and Wales, bringing the law into line with that of Scotland. Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 had already criminalised possession of "extreme pornography" but it did not explicitly specify depictions of rape.[10] At that time it was thought that the sale of rape pornography might already be illegal in England and Wales as a result of the Obscene Publications Act 1959, but the ruling in R v Peacock in January 2012 demonstrated that this was not the case. The introduction of a new law was first announced in 2013 by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron.[11] In a speech to the NSPCC he stated that pornography that depicts simulated rape "normalise(s) sexual violence against women", although the Ministry of Justice criminal policy unit had previously stated that "we have no evidence to show that the creation of staged rape images involves any harm to the participants or causes harm to society at large".[12]

In February 2015, Section 16 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 amended the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 to criminalise the possession of pornographic imagery depicting acts of rape. The law only applies to consensual, simulated, fantasy material. The possession of an image capturing an actual rape, for example CCTV footage, is not illegal; but a "make believe" image created by and for consenting adults is open to prosecution.[12] In January 2014 sexual freedom campaign groups criticised Section 16 as being poorly defined and liable to criminalise a wider range of material than originally suggested.[13] However, in April 2014 the BBFC's presentation to Parliament suggested that the proposed legislation would not cover "clearly fictional depictions of rape and other sexual violence in which participants are clearly actors, acting to a script".[14]


In Germany, the distribution of pornography featuring real or faked rape is illegal.[15]

United States[edit]

There are few practical legal restrictions on rape pornography in the United States. Law enforcement agencies concentrate on examples where they believe a crime has been committed in the production. "Fantasy" rape pornography depicting rape simulations involving consenting adults are not a priority for the police.[16]


Internet policing with respect to investigating actual crime has been made increasingly difficult by rape pornography websites operating anonymously, ignoring ICANN regulations and providing false information for the Whois database.[16]

Videos showing real rape have been hosted on popular pornographic video sharing and pornography websites.[17][18] These websites have been criticized by petitioners.[19][20]

Cybersex trafficking[edit]

Victims of cybersex trafficking have been forced into live streaming rape pornography,[21][22][23][24] which can be recorded and later sold. Victims are raped online or forced to perform sex acts on themselves or other victims in real time. They are usually forced to watch the paying consumers on shared screens and follow their orders.[25] It occurs in locations, commonly referred to as ‘cybersex dens,’ that can be in homes, hotels, offices, internet cafes, and other businesses.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Simpson, Clare (2013-11-15). "10 Controversial Films With Scenes Of Explicit Sexual Violence". WhatCulture.com. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Pornography, Rape and Sex Crimes in Japan". Pacific Center for Sex and Society. University of Hawaii. 1999.
  3. ^ "Website selling 'real' rape and child pornography videos shut down after arrest in Netherlands, Justice Department says". The Washington Post. March 12, 2020.
  4. ^ Hald, Gert Martin; Malamuth, Neil M.; Yuen, Carlin (1 January 2010). "Pornography and attitudes supporting violence against women: revisiting the relationship in nonexperimental studies". Aggressive Behavior. 36 (1): 14–20. doi:10.1002/ab.20328. ISSN 1098-2337. PMID 19862768.
  5. ^ Willis, Ellen (1993). "Feminism, Moralism, and Pornography". New York Law School Law Review. 38: 351. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  6. ^ Odem, Mary E.; Clay-Warner, Jody (1998). Confronting Rape and Sexual Assault. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-8420-2599-7.
  7. ^ "Revitalising Justice – Proposals To Modernise And Improve The Criminal Justice System". Scotland.gov.uk. 2008-09-24. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
  8. ^ "Information on the new offence of Possession of Extreme Pornographic Images" (PDF). The Scottish Government. 1 Mar 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  9. ^ Dan Bunting (22 April 2014). "Criminal Justice and Courts Bill – new criminal offences". Halsbury's Law Exchange.
  10. ^ "Crackdown on violent porn". The Scotsman. Johnston Publishing. 2006-08-31.
  11. ^ "Online pornography to be blocked by default, PM announces". BBC News. 22 July 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  12. ^ a b Myles Jackman (13 August 2013). "Government to "get to grips" with Rape-Porn". Myles Jackman. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  13. ^ Jerry Barnett (20 February 2014). "Letter to MPs on Criminalising "Rape Porn"". Sex & Censorship.
  14. ^ Ben Yates (4 April 2014). "UK Censors Approve Unrealistic Rape Porn". Sex and Censorship.
  15. ^ "German Criminal Code". Gesetze-im-internet.de. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
  16. ^ a b Craig Timberg (6 December 2013). "How violent porn site operators disappear behind Internet privacy protections". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  17. ^ "'I was raped at 14, and the video ended up on a porn site'". BBC News. 10 February 2020.
  18. ^ "Call for credit card freeze on porn sites". BBC News. May 8, 2020.
  19. ^ "Pornhub needs to change – or shut down". The Guardian. March 9, 2020.
  20. ^ "Anti-porn activists come after Montreal-based Pornhub". National Post. May 3, 2020.
  21. ^ "Philippine children exploited in billion-dollar webcam paedophilia industry". The Sydney Morning Herald. July 8, 2014.
  22. ^ "IJM Seeks to End Cybersex Trafficking of Children and #RestartFreedom this Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday". PR Newswire. November 28, 2016.
  23. ^ "Cybersex Trafficking". IJM. 2020.
  24. ^ "Cyber-sex trafficking: A 21st century scourge". CNN. July 18, 2013.
  25. ^ "Cyber-sex trafficking: A 21st century scourge". CNN. July 18, 2013.
  26. ^ "Cyber-sex trafficking: A 21st century scourge". CNN. July 18, 2013.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bridges, Ana J. (October 2019). "Chapter 7: Pornography and Sexual Assault". In O'Donohue, Yvonne; William T., Paul A. (eds.). Handbook of Sexual Assault and Sexual Assault Prevention. Routledge. pp. 129–149. ISBN 978-3030236441.
  • Diamond, Milton (October 2009). "Pornography, public acceptance and sex related crime: A review". International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. 32 (5): 304–314. Abstract.
  • Makin, David A. & Morczek, Amber L. (February 2015). "X Views and Counting: Interest in Rape-Oriented Pornography as Gendered MicroaggressionJournal of Interpersonal Violence". 25 (3): 244–257. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) Abstract.
  • Malamuth, Neal M. (2014). Pornography and Sexual Aggression. Elsevier Science. ISBN 9781483295794.
  • Mowlabocus, Sharif & Wood, Rachel (September 2015). "Introduction: audiences and consumers of porn". Porn Studies. 2 (3): 118–122. Abstract.
  • Palermo, Alisia M. & Dadgardoust, Laleh (May 2019). "Examining the role of pornography and rape supportive cognitions in lone and multiple perpetrator rape proclivity". Journal of Sexual Aggression. 31 (12): 2131–2155. Abstract.