The Cornered Cat

Before you read this article, please READ MY DISCLAIMER at the bottom of the page.

Please do not just take my word, or anyone else’s word, about any of these legal issues. I AM NOT A LAWYER and THIS ARTICLE IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. You should look up your own state laws and do your own research about how those laws apply to you. If you do not understand anything, ask a qualified expert in your own state law to explain the statutes to you. This stuff is way too serious to simply trust the word of some chick on the ‘net. LOOK IT UP YOURSELF.

Generally speaking, deadly force is justified in response to an attempted forceful rape.

Deadly force is justfied in response to forceful rape not because rape always involves death or grave bodily harm (although it too often does), but because there is a clearly-understood threat that the rapist will kill or seriously hurt his victim if she does not cooperate. The implied threat of death or serious injury for non-cooperation is present even if the rapist never says a single word to his victim, and its presence is part of what defines the crime of rape.

Whenever an attacker uses deadly force against his intended victim, his intended victim may legally use deadly force in response.

In the case of forceful rape, the force being used against the intended victim meets the legal definition of deadly force. So she may legally use deadly force to defend herself and prevent the rape.

Please read the A,O,J article for more discussion about the circumstances in which deadly force is, or is not, legally justified.

Lethal force expert Massad Ayoob wrote an article about this for Backwoods Home Magazine some years back. The concepts are as fresh as they ever were, and you can find the article online at