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I was just profoundly disturbed by the content of the following question: Is it consider rape if the girl doesn't understand what is happening? It was posted more than two years before this Meta question, but it was bumped by an edit. (I will repost the body below for posterity.)

What happens when users report sexual crimes involving minors on this site? What do moderators do? What should other users do?


I was in Kentucky visiting family. My cousin's friend's sister was young (about 12 or so years old) and was not sexually educated. A guy only 3 years older than her started touching her private areas. The young girl asked him what he was trying to do and he said he would explain afterwards. He proceeded in sexual intercourse with her telling him she didn't understand. Afterwards, he did not explain truly; she came to us later asking what sex was and told us what the guy did. We need to know was she raped?

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In addition to Dale's answer, with which I agree, there is another thing that users can and should do:

Edit the Question

As originally posted, and even as edited (as of the date of this post), the question merits editing for at least the following reasons:

  • The question is framed as a request for advice, not for legal information. The answers suggest how it can be reframed as a more generic legal question.
  • The question contains unnecessary details (and a narrative that is, I also think, unnecessarily disturbing) to inform a question that is appropriately generic.

Not applicable in the case of reported crimes as in this example, but:

For threats: Stack Exchange does have policies for reporting posts that contain serious mentions of self-harm or planned crimes. TL;DR: use the Contact link at the bottom of any page on the site to alert the Community Managers.

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Answer the question or don't answer the question

No one "reports" anything on this site - we are not the police. Similarly, we are not mandatory reporters.

Further, we have no way of knowing if what users post is true or false, accurate or deliberately provocative. If the question is on-topic for the site, then it belongs on the site. Law can deal with some of the worst aspects of human behaviour; if any individual can't deal with that then they shouldn't participate here.

Now, I suspect that the particular question you cite probably has some basis in fact. But whether this actually happened to Ruby's "cousin's friend's sister" or whether it is a story circulating in the local area that gets attributed to various people depending on who's telling the story we have no way of knowing. Ruby says that she was told this first-hand by the victim but that's still hearsay – only the victim (and perpetrator and any direct witnesses) are actually in a position to know the facts. Now, it's entirely possible that Ruby is the victim – if so, the best thing anyone can do is answer her questions so that she can make informed decisions about what to do next.

Which brings us to the final issue of practicality: there's nothing we can do. We don't know who Ruby is, we don't know who Ruby's cousin's friend's sister is and we don't know where this happened (apart from – allegedly – Kentucky where approximately 4.5 million people live).

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