Rape is defined in most jurisdictions as the commission of unlawful sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration by one person with or against another person without the consent of the victim. There is no Federal Law in the U.S. which directly governs rape. However, the term sexual assault is closely related to rape. Some jurisdictions define “rape” to include only acts involving penile penetration of the vagina, considering all other types of non consensual sexual activity as sexual assault.
In some states, the terminology varies. For example, Michigan uses the term “criminal sexual conduct”. In California, as per section 261.5 of the California Penal Code, rape is an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person not the spouse of the perpetrator under any of the following circumstances: (i) where a person is mentally or physically incapable of giving a legal consent which is known to the person committing the act, (ii) executed against a person’s will by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the person or another, (iv) where a person is prevented from resisting by any intoxicating or any controlled substance and the fact is known to the accused, (v) where a person is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act, and this is known to the accused, (vi) where a person is under the belief that the person committing the act is the victim’s spouse and this belief is induced by any act practiced by the accused with intent to induce the belief, (vii) where the act is accomplished against the victim’s will by threatening to retaliate in the future, and (viii) where the act is accomplished against the victim’s will by threatening to use the authority of a public official to incarcerate, arrest, or deport the victim or another. Any kind of sexual penetration is sufficient to complete the crime. In California, rape is punishable by imprisonment upto eight years.