I will say in advance that this isn't the most cheery subject.

For my writing, I need to know whether a situation is classed as rape or not. However the situation involves a character who, using magic, changed his appearance to look like someone else. If it weren't for this I would ask on Law.SE, but I'm not sure if this would be on topic.

Is it on topic for this site?

  • $\begingroup$ Are asking about legality or morality? If you're asking about morality, if you have to ask, it's probably better not to... $\endgroup$
    – apaul
    Apr 19 '18 at 22:17
  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking what your "in world" reaction would/should be, or what your readers reactions will likely be? $\endgroup$
    – apaul
    Apr 19 '18 at 22:30
  • $\begingroup$ Well, is using magic any different than using makeup (including FX makeup)? $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Apr 20 '18 at 8:42
  • $\begingroup$ You could ask on Law.SE about the situation of identical twins. I.e. one twin pretends to be another twin to have sex with that twin's lover/spouse. Lover might be better than spouse, as one might wonder how the twin was that good at fooling the spouse. This approach works best if the lover does not know that there is a twin. $\endgroup$
    – Brythan
    Apr 21 '18 at 18:31

Most other sites don't appreciate fictional questions that involve magic and what-if-someone-did-this-specific-thing scenarios, so asking on Law.SE would likely get this closed. On the other hand a question about real-world laws would not go well over here. For example it might be important to state what differences there are in regards to magical disguises in your world - but that would basically require you to answer your own question.

You need to at least mention what country you are in.

And you should probably test the draft in the Sandbox first.

A word of warning though: this is a very difficult topic, even if it's only about the legal implications, many people will not like it. You should expect a couple downvotes. Testing the wording in the Sandbox might help mitigating this a bit.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ do I just write the question as I intend to, as an answer for the sandbox? $\endgroup$ Apr 19 '18 at 18:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AjnatorixZersolar Yes, the "question" explains how the Sandbox should be used. You write your draft together with information about what you need help with as an "answer". Then people can comment under that draft to tell you what they think, for example whether the draft will work, or what you need to edit. Then you edit and when you think it's ready you can post it on the main site. After posting on Main you shorten your draft and delete it. You should wait at least 24 hours before posting on Main. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Apr 19 '18 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ I have posted the draft $\endgroup$ Apr 19 '18 at 18:47
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ For completeness' sake, that's worldbuilding.meta.stackexchange.com/a/6020/29 $\endgroup$
    – user
    Apr 19 '18 at 19:31

My first reaction when reading "I need to know whether a situation is classed as rape or not" was that this may be on topic but is definitely way too broad. In order to make the question technically acceptable you need to explain the rules of the world where this situation occurs, and also, depending on the rules, the status of the deceiver and of the deceived; but then, if you explain the rules, then it may be case that you will already know the answer.

To illustrate the broadness, I will give an example.

In Jacques Offenbach's Orphée aux Enfers (Orpheus in the Underworld) there is a great scene where the gods and goddesses of Olympus taunt Jupiter by exposing his womanising adventures; in particular, Minerva sings:

"Pour séduire Alcmène la fière, tu pris les traits de son mari! Je sais bien des femmes sur terre pour qui ça n’eût pas réussi!" (In order to seduce proud Alcmene, you took the appearance of her husband! I know many women on Earth for whom this would not have worked!). (Words by Hector Crémieux).

This is a humorous retelling of the origin myth of Hercules. You are supposed to know that; or, to be honest, forty years ago well-educated Eastern European teen-agers were supposed to know that.

So what do we have here?

  • In Greek myth, this is a bog-standard matter-of-fact run-of-the-mill trick commonly used by gods to enjoy the favors of mortal women. Nothing special, tricked you! Note that the main conflict in the life of Hercules arises from the jealousy of Zeus's wife Hera, and not from any resentment on the part of Alcmene or her husband Amphytrion.

  • In 19th century Paris, this was absolutely perfectly acceptable in a comic opera; the public was supposed to laugh at the couplets describing Jupiter's (actually, of course, Zeus's, but for reasons French people always used the names of the Roman gods when speaking of Greek gods) amorous encounters.

  • But were the story set in the world of today, this would not work as light entertainment at all, given that at the bottom of it Zeus has sex with Alcmene without her informed consent.

For completeness:

  • Jacques Offenbach was a famous French composer of comic operas and not only. In Europe he is well-known, and his operas are regularly shown.

  • Orphée aux Enfers is a splendid comic opera. It has the distinction of featuring Public Opinion as a singing character, and it is the source of the best known tune for the French Can-can, which is featured in two separate scenes! (The tune, not the dance. The goddesses don't do the can-can.)

  • Alcmene, wife of Amphytrion, is of course the mortal mother of Hercules.


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