In To Kill a Mockingbird, Tom Robinson is accused of rape.  What is rape?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the context of this novel, rape is when a man forces himself on a woman sexually.  In other words, Tom Robinson is accused of having sex with Mayelle Ewell against her will.  It is clear that the two did kiss, but there was no actual sexual contact.  Kissing is not considered rape, and Mayella initiated the kiss.  In the South at this time there was no crime more terrible than a black man raping a white woman. Innocent men were often accused of rape, because they were black.  Sometimes this was just because they were there, and sometimes it was because they were in a relationship with a white woman, which society would view as wrong.

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nancy45 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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the unlawful compelling of a woman through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse. 2. any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person