Social Question

smack's avatar

Is rape a more severe crime than murder?

Asked by smack (1217points) November 19th, 2009

on one hand, yes, you’re taking someone’s life – but you’re putting them out of their misery. with rape, you destroy someone – possibly rendering them an empty shell, walking around until old age or a bus takes them away. you take something from them, and it can never be given back. is this more severe than murder?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

99 Answers

jaketheripper's avatar

nope, murder is the worst

Blondesjon's avatar

No.

While alive, you always have a choice about how you deal with the events of your life.

When you’re dead, you’re dead.

DominicX's avatar

I don’t think it is simply because of the fact that rape victims survive and many of them move on with their lives and are able to live fulfilling lives despite what happened to them. That doesn’t necessarily speak for all rape victims, but plenty of them do, and I wouldn’t discount their stories just because some let it ruin their lives forever. There’s no rule that says rape victims are destroyed and turned into an empty shell. They can move past it.

And who says a murder-victim was in “misery”?

faye's avatar

I don’t think you can say that of all rape victims!!

smack's avatar

@faye no, you’re right. you can’t. but i’ve known people who have said that they’d “rather be dead.” it got me thinking.

Zaku's avatar

Matter of opinion. Depends on what we make them mean, our invented moral code, etc.

For example, some would argue that you are perpetrating against rape victims by characterizing their plight as one of needing to be rendered an empty shell. Others might disagree.

I’d hate to have either occur to me, or to almost all people.

Ivan's avatar

Well, maybe I’d feel differently if I were unfortunate enough to be put in this situation, but I think I’d rather be miserable and destroyed than dead.

jeanna's avatar

Murder is worse. People can, and have, gotten over the rape. I’d rather be alive and have the choice regarding how it will affect me than to be dead and left without any choices.

Aethelwine's avatar

I’m not walking around as an empty shell. Even though I’ll never forget the two times that I was raped, I’m not going to give those fucks that kind of power over me. I’m thankful to be alive.

Murder is worse.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Never!
At least after a rape a person has a chance of leading a normal life. After a murder, not so much.

dpworkin's avatar

Running a large pharmaceutical company, or a health insurance company, or a major international bank is a far worse crime than either.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I don’t think either one of them is more severe – I think they can be equally bad. Now… Raping a child vs. murder? I think raping a child is worse. On top of severe psychological damage that the victim endures their entire life, whoever raped the child has also raised the chances of creating another, future predator.

JONESGH's avatar

No. I think you’d have to be more sick in the head to commit a rape though.

nxknxk's avatar

No. You’re assuming the person you’re killing was ‘in misery’, anyway.

smack's avatar

@nxknxk i meant like in pain. hahahaha

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@pdworkin How is that helpful?

You could at least make an attempt to take the crimes of rape and murder at least a little bit seriously since people’s lives here have been affected by both.

filmfann's avatar

When there is a news story about a rape victim being recovered (Jaycee Dugard was found in the city where I live), I will always say how lucky she was not to have been murdered. People react as if I have said something bad about the rapist, but I am just saying it could have been much worse.

dpworkin's avatar

It is helpful because were are rating crimes in a hierarchy, and we left out some very, very bad ones. How was your remark helpful? Killing or scarring one person at a time is worse than being responsible for the deaths of millions of poor people with the only object being profit? You have a skewed perspective.

debzilla's avatar

It depends on the severity of the rape, I think. Was this your average frat boy incident? Was this a lovely stroll in the park when two guys jump out of bushes, tackle you, and force themselves on you? Was it a date rape and you wake up needing a hospital and a HIV counselor?

I agree with most at least you have the chance to continue living, but I believe that some incidents of rape can really ruin someone.. If they are not strong enough or capable of seeking the proper help needed.

holden's avatar

Putting them out of their misery?

faye's avatar

@DrasticDreamer do you mean that a child who was raped would more likely turn into a rapist? Most rapists were abused is an issue but a child raped?

smack's avatar

@holden see my comment to @nxknxk.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@faye What I mean is that children that were abused (usually men) have a tendency to become abusers themselves, as adults.

Aethelwine's avatar

@debzilla Rape is rape. There is no scale. We aren’t categorizing hurricanes here.

asmonet's avatar

@debzilla: I find it very disturbing that the phrase ‘average frat boy incident’ needs to even be considered. Sometimes, I’m disgusted by the world.

Ivan's avatar

Yeah, was I the only one who shuddered at “average frat boy incident”?

smack's avatar

@Ivan trust me, you were not.

asmonet's avatar

@Ivan: No, I was fairly pissed.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@everyone She may not have meant it how it looked. If she wants to, give her a chance to explain before you jump down her throat.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

For the most part I’d say murder is worse. Rape victims have the chance to heal over time. Murder victims…not so much.

debzilla's avatar

Didn’t mean to set forth discomfort, just going off of what I have known from people I have known.. I’m not putting rape on a scale of 1— 10. I’m explaining how certain rapes can affect women in different ways.

trailsillustrated's avatar

no, taking a soul is not worse than taking a life, see a soul can be re-grown, but they haven’t discovered how to re-grow a life yet

jeanna's avatar

@debzilla I do not agree that “certain rapes” can affect people (men get raped, too) in different ways. I’ve been raped a few times and whether it was my father or a stranger does not matter.

smack's avatar

@jeanna lurve. i’ve only been once. you couldn’t pay me enough to go through that again.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@jeanna I do not agree. If your father raised you, getting raped by him would be far worse than getting raped by a stranger.

jeanna's avatar

@DrasticDreamer Until you have experienced it, you have no idea.

casheroo's avatar

@Blondesjon “While alive, you always have a choice about how you deal with the events of your life.” I totally don’t agree with that. That’s like saying anyone with a mental illness chose to have it. A woman (or man) cannot help getting PTSD after being raped. No one asks to have mental anguish over an event that happened. I think that is an unfair statement you made..

I’ve been raped. I’m still suffering because of it. But, I’m glad to be alive.
Also, comparing rapes is not something that can be done. One is not worse than the other, but one could possibly be more traumatic or painful than another. I can see how it could depend on the rape and the circumstances. But, both women still have something taken from them .

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@jeanna Exactly. Which is why my opinion still counts.

jeanna's avatar

@DrasticDreamer Apparently you missed my point. I won’t spell it out on here.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@jeanna I did not miss your point. My point is that I understand what you’re saying – and I’m letting you know that I have experienced.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Not that any honest opinions are invalid, but I think anyone with first hand experience of a traumatic event can speak to its effects more credibly than someone who has not.

faye's avatar

@debzilla I agree that there are different “kinds’ of rape and so getting past it would be different, also different personalities in each person to begin with. @DrasticDreamer I was trying to say I don’t think a rape would change a non-violent person into becoming an abuser. And I agree with everyone there’s no getting past dead.

Blondesjon's avatar

@casheroo . . .What does any of that have to do with rape or murder?

I guess I should have said, “While alive you have a much greater chance of dealing with your issues than if you are dead.”

If I’ve offended you, I apologize. I may be a dick but I’m not an asshole.

casheroo's avatar

@Blondesjon Okay, I took what you said the wrong way! Sorry :)

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@jeanna You can’t speak for every rape victim like they all have the same voice. Just because being raped by a stranger and your dad would be equally bad for you, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be the same for every person on the planet.

I wouldn’t have opened my mouth if I myself, just like you, didn’t have experience.

Blondesjon's avatar

@casheroo . . . It’s all good. You know I have nothing but the utmost respect for you.

Knowing some of the things you have been through I think you are much better at dealing with shit than you give yourself credit for. :)

oratio's avatar

To answer the OP, I think… that having the chance to have a life – however hard it might be to start over – is better than having someone take that decision for you, i.e. killing you.

ninjacolin's avatar

wow, what a question. forgetting the word “crime” entirely though, because laws don’t necessarily represent morality very well. is rape a more severe offense against another person? I think it would be. The fact that you stay alive to remember it seems like the most cruel thing to me. Death is unfortunate and all, but it’s not torturous.. just kind of annoying. On the other hand, death is torturous for those who survive the fallen. But I would guess that death is a more intense pain for a family to deal with than rape.

wow, i’m really not sure how to add this up exactly, but i’m gonna have to go with rape on this one, bob.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

I agree with @DrasticDreamer. Being raped by my own flesh and blood would be more mentally damaging to me than a random man.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@ninjacolin Did you just say death is kind of annoying?

ninjacolin's avatar

yea, especially if you’re young. all of a sudden it’s just all over.

i can imagine myself yelling: “but i had plans!”

asmonet's avatar

I can imagine you being wrong.

Corey_D's avatar

I will agree with the popular opinion and say that murder is more severe. Rape victims can go on to lead normal lives even if they are traumatized and always carry it with them.

However, rape sometimes provokes a bigger emotional response to those who hear about the crime. I think this is due to the inherently sick and evil nature of rape. Not that murder isn’t evil but it can sometimes be done in a fit of rage without thinking. Whereas it takes an extremely sick mind to rape someone.

I must say I am horrified with the number of people here who have been raped. I mean I knew the numbers and that it was a serious problem but having it brought home to me in this manner is rather… depressing. What the fuck is wrong with people?

trailsillustrated's avatar

I have read this late but after reading the threads @pdworkin wha???? Please what are you talking about??? I have read enough of your posts to know that you are an introspective, contemporary, and well-informed man. HUH????

/

trailsillustrated's avatar

and ps, to anybody who has really, and truly, been threatened with their life, and I mean that after it all, you realised you wet your pants, and really had been thinking that this was your very last moment, you know the answer to this =choose life=when your’e dead your dead, when your’e alive there are ways to be alive..‘nothing is sweeter than life’

gemiwing's avatar

They both create loss, pain and horror. Rape is brutal to go through and heal from. People left behind who have had someone they loved murdered, also have to heal and move on.

I don’t think one is worse than the other.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I challenge anyone, anyone, who reall y has survived a crime, no matter how evil, at the end of the day, to say the one in which the victim lived is the lesser.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Nope. Even a lifetime of emotional and/or physical healing is still a lifetime.

deni's avatar

This is hard. I want to say that living with the memory of being raped would be awful, so it could be worse, but then again, you are at least still living.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Maybe I never took the time to properly heal after being raped or maybe I just block it out completely but I can’t understand how anyone would choose murder over rape! It happened to me and yes, it was awful, but I made it out alive, and for that I was very thankful. I would never wish for death instead of rape. People have to go through difficult things in their lives all the time. And it’s very emotionally stressful and sometimes damaging. But those things can be overcome. I am by no means a very strong person. And I have been through my share of difficult life experiences. If someone as weak as me can make it out of those situations semi-sane, I know others can. So thinking death is the better of the two? No way.

whitenoise's avatar

I find it hard to evaluate a crime merely on the result of the crime.

In my mind, the intent behind crime is just as important. A vicious planned rape of a child, is in my mind a lot worse than killing someone in the heat of an argument, for instance. The consequence of the latter, in my mind is still worse though. A corporate executive stealing money from pension funds and then ruining the company can destroy the lives of hundreds of people, merely for greed.

In crude generalization, I would say that anything you survive is better off than when you’re dead. I know very few people that have been raped that would now welcome being killed, just to be out of their ‘misery’. (Sorry @smack, I realize you retracted thse words.)

To put things even more into perspective: in those societies where rape is more looked upon as a vicious crime, victims suffer more and longer psychological trauma. In cultures where rape is more ‘accepted’ as a ‘normal’ cultural phenomenon, the victim suffers less and shorter.

Note that I’m not trying to ridicule the hurt caused by rape, in any way. I just mention it, since it shows that a big element of the hurt is caused by the way the victim is hurt not merely physical, but in his/her identity. There must be better ways to help people that suffered rape and make sure that they do not end up as outcasts.

mammal's avatar

No, common convention, throughout history does not equate the two acts, rape offers at least the opportunity to forgive and therefore rise above ourselves. Murder is the more destructive act. There are murky areas, of course. Having said that using rape as a punishment is as foul an act as i can think of.

dpworkin's avatar

@trailsillustrated Over the last three years I have worked a great deal with the victims of rape, domestic violence and child sexual abuse. Many of you know that my girlfriend is blind; perhaps you don’t know that certain sexual predators prefer to target blind women. You may imagine what the consequences have been for her. If someone implies that I have no sympathy for the victims of such crimes, well draw your own conclusions.

But when I first saw the OP I had just returned home from a class in Critical Medical Anthropology where I had been exposed to the horrors that the globalization of Big Pharma has perpetrated on the poorest, most helpless people in the world, who are most compromised by treatable illness and early death. So I was struck by the quotidian nature of the crimes of rape and murder in comparison with the genocide against the poor that is being perpetrated in Haiti, in Africa, and elsewhere in the world for no reason other than large profits. Everyone is entitled to some reasonable profit, but these companies charge 500 times the manufacturing price for, for instance, Anti Retrovirals which could help turn AIDS in Africa from a deadly killer to a manageable chronic illness. This struck me as being far more horrific than rape or murder.

Perhaps I didn’t express myself very well, but that was my sincere reaction to the question.

oratio's avatar

@pdworkin The relationship between medicine and profit makes me ambivalent. On one hand it promotes research and development, on the other it leeches of people in pain and matters of life and death. Also, the promise of profit mostly benefit research for profitable products, to the lowest cost as fast as possible.

Much research, however – in many countries – is done in or under the wing of governmental programs. Sometimes though, I wonder if the government shouldn’t be able to seize patents, in the interests of humanity. I know that wouldn’t be a good idea either, but somehow, medical corporations should be penalized when acting unethically.

And that is another aspect that kind of pisses me off on a personal level. People working with in an industry with products that has everything to do with ethics, but many times ignore them and pretend it doesn’t.

dpworkin's avatar

The “promotion of research” argument is demonstrably false. They spend that money on marketing, and that is a proven fact. Also, consider that most of the research on AIDS was done for them by the NIH and subsidized by you, and the picture becomes even less pretty. However, we are hijacking this thread.

OpryLeigh's avatar

When someone is raped, as awful as it is, there is always help at hand afterwards if they want to ensure that their whole life is not destroyed by one persons evil actions. They can see a councellor and take medication to help with the depression and anxiety. There are ways to ease the pain and fear. There is no therapyor medication to heal a dead person as of yet.

@DrasticDreamer I agree with you and I count my blessings everyday that it wasn’t my father that abused me in such a horrific way. I think if it had of been then it would have taken me longer to accept what had happened and deal with it (I can’t say “heal” because I think I have a long way go before I can use that word). I understand what @debzilla said about different circumstances of rape affecting women in different ways.

There have been times when I have felt suicidal due to my experience but I am so glad that I wasn’t murdered.

Aethelwine's avatar

I’m sorry, but I feel slightly offended that some are saying that certain types of rapes are worse than others. Any rape is horrific. Just because I happened to know the persons that raped me makes it less of an experience than what others went through? “Oh it was just a frat boy, she’ll get over it easier.” bullshit

debzilla's avatar

Yes. ANY and EVERY rape is horrific and wrong!!!!!! I’m sorry you are offended. I, as well as others, were stating the emotional damage has degrees of TRAUMA. The victim can heal over time, if they choose to and if they are strong enough to see past the trauma. Some people can’t handle certain things like others.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@jonsblond Who said anything about certain rapes being worse than others? I mentioned that I am glad that it wasn’t my father who hurt me in such a way but that doesn’t mean that I am excusing what my abuser did to me because “at least he wasn’t my father” if that’s what you think. I can see what @debzilla means because, if it was my father (who I think the absolute world of) it would have been even harder for me to accpet and deal with. That’s all.

jaketheripper's avatar

One thing no one has brought up is how each offense affects people close to the victim. Look at it from the point of view of mother who is raped. That’s terrible but she can still be a mother. If she is a really strong person her child might not even know about it. Whereas if she were murdered the child would have no mother.
also I know it’s an unpopular opinion but different kinds of rape are worse than others. you would never say that getting punched in the face hurts the same no matter who does it or how hard. obviously this isn’t true and I don’t see why it extends to rape. I am by no means trying to underestimate the pain that goes with it or excuse the person who commits it, just making a distinction

Aethelwine's avatar

@Leanne1986 Poor choice of words. My bad. I should have said “Harder to deal with” instead of worse. My point is that the pain is still there, it doesn’t matter how it happened. Anyone that has dealt with rape will deal with it for the rest of their lives. To me it’s like saying “It was just an internet affair, it wasn’t physical.” Trust was lost, it doesn’t matter how it happens. Hurt is hurt and it never goes away.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@jonsblond I agree with you that being raped is NEVER going to be easy to deal with and I am glad you mentioned the trust issue because although my dad would never do anything to hurt me it took me a bloody long time before I could trust any man and even now there are only three men in the world that I trust not to put me through that again. It doesn’t matter who it was that committed this hideous crime, it affected my relationships with everyone around me.

jeanna's avatar

I echo and lurve @jonsblond, GA’s.

jfos's avatar

I never knew rape was so common (outside of autonomous hotspots), that some people have been raped several times…

At least nobody here was ever murdered, though.

mammal's avatar

Would you rather i repeatedly thrust my knife into you whilst you begged me to stop or my penis?

dpworkin's avatar

I’d rather you thrust your knife into your penis.

Kraigmo's avatar

I think people equate rape and child molestation with murder because these are life-changing predatory capital crimes.

But murder is forever. I’ll always remember the San Diego couple whose little daughter was raped & killed by their neighbor. At the trial, the mother looked at the defendent and said “You could have done your sick things without killing her… why did you have to kill her?”

Murder is forever, and a life is gone. I would say that is far worse than the horrible other various semi-common violent crimes.

At the same time, though, I don’t want to downplay the suffering of any person who is a victim of someone else, in whatever crime.

mattbrowne's avatar

No. But it’s close.

Janka's avatar

It comes close, but no, it is not worse.

Of course, torturing someone to death is worse than murder, and some rape cases come to that.

TominLasVegas's avatar

Both are equally awful.However with rape the victim is still alive and has to deal with their emotions and the aftermath. But murder is permanent just the same. Thats a tough call and I wish neither on anyone.

Brian1946's avatar

If a murder victim and a rape victim are both completely innocent, then I say that murder is worse.

However, in a somewhat contrived example, I think that raping a completely innocent victim is worse than say a severely abused wife “murdering” her abusive husband.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Sweet holy moly, from what I have gleaned from my time on Fluther that murder is worse, because if a person who was murdered if they could they would do a “medium” [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medium_(TV_series) ] and rat out the person that killed then, and if any family member thought or knew of a person that killed a loved on or dear friend they would go through great length to bring the murderer to justice. However, when it comes to rape I was schooled that many would feel the embarrassment brought by a aggressive defense attorney or a less than kid glove DA would be worse than the actual rape and thus reason to stay mute that it ever happened, allowing the perpetrator to go free. When it comes to murder people would rather see 3 innocent people pay for it before allowing one guilty murderer to go free, not the same with the other. From what I have picked up.

peanutbutter97's avatar

Give me some better reasons why murderer is the worse and rape isn’t. A girl or boy just basically got their life taken away from them. They can’t walk out the door and wonder “is it going to happen to me again. Should i go out there” The person who did this to that person should put to jail so it wont happen again

SavoirFaire's avatar

I think that the two crimes are incommensurable. Saying that one is worse than the other, or even that they are equal, just doesn’t make sense. They cannot be compared.

As for whether or not some rapes are worse than others, I find the question to be a little misleading. First, we need to recognize that “all rape is horrible” does not contradict “some rapes are worse than others.” Horribleness is not a cardinal number. Still, I think the proper response is that some rape experiences are worse than others. For some people, it won’t matter who rapes them or how. For others, these factors will matter. This last part has more or less already been said, but I agree with it and think it may bear repeating.

Nullo's avatar

I suspect that it’s easier to recover from a rape than a murder. Since murder has the greater potential for irreparable harm (the list of people coming back from the dead is a lot shorter than the one of people who come back from rape), I’m gonna say that it’s worse.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Nullo That seems to assume that death is always a worse fate than any kind of life. Is that what you mean?

Nullo's avatar

@SavoirFaire No, what I assume is that rape leaves a wound that can be healed, whereas murder does not. I suppose that rape can be as devastating as murder, but it can also be less devastating. Depends on the resilience of the victim, and probably some circumstantial factors.
I’d happily assign the death penalty to both rapists and murderers.

I do not believe that death is the worst thing that a person will ever face – that being an eternity rotting in Hell – but it’s no picnic.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Nullo I don’t see how death itself could be bad. The process of dying might be painful in some cases, and divine punishment would probably be no picnic if it existed, but death itself seems quite neutral. Regardless, it seems you are now saying that murder is not necessarily worse than rape, but that it varies with one’s particular experiences (with some experiences being worse and others not being worse). Is that correct?

casheroo's avatar

@Nullo I disagree with you 100%. I know plenty of people who went through such a hard time after being raped that they felt death would have been better. I had years of depression and anxiety, and fucked up relationships…I’d say death for a person (since they just die, they don’t experience the aftermath that family does, a person that is raped carries that burden alone)

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Nullo Telling which is worse or better to secular people, is kind of a wash. Since they do not believe in an afterlife, living might be worse, because they can’t say dying would because once they are dead if they believe all things stop for them, they would never know their torment has ended. To death is an escape they do not get the benefit of knowing provided them any relief, so they get no joy, peace, happiness or anything from it. It is like burning Monopoly money, you won’t miss burning up a million dollars because it had no real worth anyhow.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I’m not sure why the religious aspect matters. If a good person is murdered in their sleep at the age of 86 and then goes to Heaven, I’d say that’s better than being raped at age 11 and dealing with the emotional scars for an entire lifetime. So even with the assumption of an afterlife, I still disagree that death is always worse than rape.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@SavoirFaire If a good person is murdered in their sleep at the age of 86 and then goes to Heaven, I’d say that’s better than being raped at age 11 and dealing with the emotional scars for an entire lifetime. There is no guarantee that a person raped will not recover nicely. I think a lot depends on how things are handle by people round them, and their family. They could have great support and have a strong will and come out better than the 11yr old who’s parents went through a nasty divorce or was killed somehow. If they are dead, they have no chance at any normalcy.

Blondesjon's avatar

a ridiculous argument. most murder victims are not senior citizens. nice for some debate team shit but kinda weak in real life.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I didn’t say there was any guarantee. I am using example cases to show that a certain universal statement does not hold. The cases also show that the existence or non-existence of an afterlife is not a determining factor in whether or not death is always worse than rape.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Blondesjon It’s not ridiculous, it’s a response to a claim that was already made. If someone makes a false universal statement, the most useful rejoinder is one that is clear-cut.

Aethelwine's avatar

Rape is more severe for the person who has to live with the terrible memory.

Murder is more severe for the person who has to live with the memory of their loved one who was murdered

yeah, I changed my answer from two years ago.

The living get to decide what is more severe.

martianspringtime's avatar

I don’t really think you can pick one that is ‘worse’, especially since the murdered are usually not around afterward to give us some perspective.

Blondesjon's avatar

@martianspringtime . . . That’s why murder is worse. You take away all of the victim’s options. Rape is fucking horrible but the victim still has options on how they deal with it.

The dead have no choices at all.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther