The Rape of the Sabine Women — Fotopedia
As seen in the Musei Capitolini Rome - detail

Wikipedia writes: The word rape in this context means "abduction". It refers to an event supposed to have occurred in the early history of Rome, shortly after its foundation by Romulus and a group of mostly male followers. Seeking wives in order to found families, the Romans negotiated with the Sabines, who populated the area. The Sabines refused to allow their women to marry the Romans, fearing the emergence of a rival culture. Faced with the extinction of their community, the Romans planned to abduct Sabine women. Romulus invited Sabine families to a festival of Neptune Equester. At the meeting he gave a signal, at which the Romans grabbed the Sabine women and fought off the Sabine men. The indignant abductees were implored by Romulus to accept Roman husbands.

Livy is clear that no sexual assault took place. On the contrary, Romulus offered them free choice and promised civic and property rights to women. According to Livy he spoke to them each in person, "and pointed out to them that it was all owing to the pride of their parents in denying right of intermarriage to their neighbours. They would live in honourable wedlock, and share all their property and civil rights, and — dearest of all to human nature — would be the mothers of free men."
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The Rape of the Sabine Women

The Rape of the Sabine Women (Latin: Sabinae raptae) is an episode in the legendary history of Rome, traditionally dated to 750 BC, in which the first generation of Roman men acquired wives for themselves from the neighboring Sabine families. The English word rape is a conventional translation of the Latin raptio, which in this context means "abduction" rather than its prevalent modern meaning in English language of sexual violation. Recounted by Livy and Plutarch (Parallel Lives II, 15 and 19), it provided a subject for Renaissance and post-Renaissance works of art that combined a suitably inspiring example of the hardihood and courage of ancient Romans with the opportunity to depict multiple figures, including heroically semi-nude figures, in intensely passionate struggle. Comparable themes from Classical Antiquity are the Battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs and the theme of Amazonomachy, the battle of Theseus with the Amazons.

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Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms sexual penetration initiated against one or more individuals without the consent of those individuals. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or against a person who is incapable of valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, or below the legal age of consent. The term rape is sometimes used interchangeably with the term sexual assault.

Internationally, the incidence of rapes recorded by the police during 2010 varied between 0.2 in Azerbaijan per 100,000 people and 92.9 per 100,000 people in Botswana with 6.3 per 100,000 people in Lithuania as the median. According to the American Medical Association (1995), sexual violence, and rape in particular, is considered the most underreported violent crime. The rate of reporting, prosecuting and convicting for rape varies considerably in different jurisdictions. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (1999) estimated that 91% of U.S. rape victims are female and 9% are male. Rape by strangers is usually less common than rape by persons the victim knows, and several studies argue that male-on-male and female-on-female prison rapes are quite common and may be the least reported forms of rape.

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