Rape pornography

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Rape pornography is a subgenre of pornography involving the description or depiction of rape. It is controversial because of the argument that it encourages people to commit rape. However, studies of the issue produce conflicting results.[1]

Rape pornography should not be confused with the depiction of rape in non-pornographic media. Simulated scenes of rape and other forms of sexual violence have appeared in mainstream cinema almost since its advent.[2]


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.[3] The maximum penalty is an unlimited fine and 3 years imprisonment.[4] The law is not often used, and it resulted in only one prosecution during the first four years that it was in force.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7] 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".[8]

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.[8] 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.[9] 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".[10]


In Germany, the distribution of pornography featuring real or faked rape is illegal.[11]

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.[12]


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.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pornography, Rape and Sex Crimes in Japan". Pacific Center for Sex and Society. University of Hawaii. 1999.
  2. ^ Simpson, Clare (2013-11-15). "10 Controversial Films With Scenes Of Explicit Sexual Violence". WhatCulture.com. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Revitalising Justice – Proposals To Modernise And Improve The Criminal Justice System". Scotland.gov.uk. 2008-09-24. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
  4. ^ "Information on the new offence of Possession of Extreme Pornographic Images" (PDF). The Scottish Government. 1 Mar 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  5. ^ Dan Bunting (22 April 2014). "Criminal Justice and Courts Bill – new criminal offences". Halsbury's Law Exchange.
  6. ^ "Crackdown on violent porn". The Scotsman. Johnston Publishing. 2006-08-31.
  7. ^ "Online pornography to be blocked by default, PM announces". BBC News. 22 July 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  8. ^ a b Myles Jackman (13 August 2013). "Government to "get to grips" with Rape-Porn". Myles Jackman. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  9. ^ Jerry Barnett (20 February 2014). "Letter to MPs on Criminalising "Rape Porn"". Sex & Censorship.
  10. ^ Ben Yates (4 April 2014). "UK Censors Approve Unrealistic Rape Porn". Sex and Censorship.
  11. ^ "German Criminal Code". Gesetze-im-internet.de. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
  12. ^ a b Craig Timberg (6 December 2013). "How violent porn site operators disappear behind Internet privacy protections". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 December 2013.