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Rape: Legal Aspects

Forcible Rape: Purpose Of The Law, Forcible Rape: Punishment, Forcible Rape: Elements Of The Offense

In the eighteenth century, William Blackstone defined rape as "carnal knowledge of a woman forcibly and against her will" (p. 210). This definition remains in effect in many American jurisdictions, and it has provided the starting point for revisions over the years. The legal aspects of rape include five topics concerned primarily with forcible rape—the purpose of rape law, the punishment for forcible rape, the elements of the offense, evidentiary issues, and practical concerns about enforcement. The sixth topic covered in this entry is nonforcible intercourse with a person under a statutory age of consent ("statutory rape").

STEPHEN J. SCHULHOFER

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal Law