Rape Dreams | Interpret the Meaning and Message

rape dreamsHow to Interpet Dreams about Rape

Some of the most powerful and traumatizing dreams involve rape. Females and males have rape dreams. The first possibilities for symbolism to consider revolve around non-sexual definitions of the word. Think of uses in everyday conversation when it means something other than physical rape, such as when one side dominates another in sports or video games. Rape can mean to exploit the natural resources of the planet. It’s an expression of helplessness and anger.

Rape means domination, exploitation, violation and humiliation. Dreams enact alternate definitions of the word rape, turning them into scenarios of sexual rape.


Symbolism of rape in a dream = coercion

Another way that dreams use rape is to express the feeling of being forced to do something you don’t want to do, or be someone you don’t want be. It’s a theme found frequently in the dreams of people who resist living up to cultural ideals and expectations of their gender. Some females resent having to wear make-up and heels and are discriminated against when they don’t. Some males don’t want to act tough and distant, or dominate, or spend hours in the gym buffing up. Cultural pressure to live up to gender ideals can be intense, and the consequences of defying it can be extreme. Even when a person tries to live up to gender ideals, it can still feel like being coerced or forced. It’s not necessarily “consensual.”

reddit dreams

Reddit Dreams, where I’m known as “RadOwl.”

A man I spoke with at Reddit Dreams asked why he has recurring dreams about being raped. It connects with being forced to hide his homosexuality. Instead, he tries to force himself to feel and act straight and be attracted to women. Rape sums up how he feels.

This use of the symbolism arises more often in dreams about being raped by a group of men. It’s a way of saying “men in general.” On the other hand, imagine the male whose father berates him to “be a man why don’t ya” and attacks him psychologically. This sort of situation is readily turned into dreams about being raped by a man and the dream character won’t necessarily look like the dreamer’s father, but something will symbolically connect them.

Gang rape in a dream can be an exaggerated way of expressing the idea of being ganged-up on. It can express the feeling of everything and everyone being out to get you or hurt you. It can express a dynamic about your inner life.

Dreams exaggerate to create symbolism and be memorable. Dreams amplify to express your feelings and bring forward what you might otherwise overlook or minimize. The dreaming mind does not care that rape is a delicate topic. It uses the most effective means to tell the story and accomplish the objectives that underlie it. Of course, it’s a different situation for people who have been raped, and a whole mess of personal associations come into play that their dreams can use to create symbolism, express emotions, and address dynamics.


Rape dream: a graphic representation of your inner life

Rape in a dream can have roots in your inner life. In a graphic way, it shows how you treat yourself. One part of yourself overpowers the others. Your ego is coercive, threatening, takes what it wants. If that’s how life is in your head, it’s likely to show outwardly. Some people are best described as rapists just based on their personality and character.

Rape in a dream can have sexual roots. People who have been raped are likely to dream about it. It seems cruel to bring up a traumatizing event like that, but it actually helps by creating a psychological cushion between the present moment in time and what happened in the past. Once the dream is over it’s in the past, and when something can be thought of as in the past it creates personal distance. The same sort of process happens with other traumas such as combat and abuse.

dream about rape

On the other hand, rape dreams can show that you’re still chained to the experience even though you have the potential to move on. For example, a woman dreams about finding her rapist working beneath a car. She coldly pulls out a gun and pumps rounds into him. The dream is an expression of her thoughts of revenge. She didn’t report the rape because her best friend’s brother did it, and it’s eating her up inside. Her thoughts of revenge rip open the scab and keep the wound fresh.


Rape in a dream: an exaggeration of how you feel

dream interpretation dictionary

Rape is one of the subject covered in my all-in-one reference source for dream interpretation.

Rape in dreams can be used to exaggerate a situation related to sexual tension or exploitation, such as when a person is used as a sexual plaything. Rape symbolizes exploitation, in this case.

A dream about rape might connect with a recent or ongoing situation that’s dangerous, or potentially so, sexually or otherwise. It’s the sort of comparison dreams are known to make because dangerous situations such as passing out at a party can lead to rape. In which case, dreaming about rape connects with putting yourself in danger.

A rape dream can come in response to feeling vulnerable, powerless or disrespected. For example, after being hit on at a gas station by a creepy guy, a woman dreams that night about being raped at that gas station by a similar guy. It’s an expression of feeling raped in the sense of having her dignity attacked, compounded by recognizing her vulnerability to men who are stronger than her.

Dreams can act as simulations, and a dream about rape can be a way of acting out an issue related to it. For example, you hear a graphic story about a friend who is raped then dream it happens to you. It’s a way of really understanding what that friend went through, or express fear of it happening to you. Or you have a rape fantasy and dream about rape. Something about the idea of domination and humiliation turns you on.

For example, a young man with a rape fantasy had two dreams that when looked at together present a choice. In one, he has normal sex with a girl he is attracted to, an imaginary character, and in the other he rapes a random girl. The dreams are showing him his choices. On the one hand, sex with someone he’s attracted to (normal sex) appeals to him but lacks the stimulation he feels at the thought of raping someone. The rape dream shows that the stimulation of rape comes at the expense any sort of intimacy. He can have one or the other but not both.

If you have found this post because you were raped, dream about it and want help, try dream rescripting, used for chronic nightmares and treatment of ptsd. Search online for general info, and use this link when you’re ready to get to work: Dream rescripting worksheet.

Also, read my thoughts about nightmares.

You deserve to have your life back. Your dreams are trying to help you do that, to heal.

I also suggest Peter LeVine’s book “Waking the Tiger.” Its insights and exercises can help you feel safe and in control of your body again.



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This post covers the meaning, interpretation and treatment of rape dreams.


I'm the author of "Dreams 1-2-3: Remember, Interpret, and Live Your Dreams," and "The Dream Interpretation Dictionary: Symbols, Sign and Meanings." At reddit.com I'm known as RadOwl. I began studying dreams in the early 1990s and delved into all major schools of thought, especially the writings of Carl Jung.

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6 Responses

  1. freaked out says:

    I took a nap at my university’s sleeping lounge today for 1 hour and a half. I regret it.

    I basically dreamed about being chased, by a woman around my age, black hair, white woman, thin but fast, wearing very little clothing in the WINTER, with just a t shirt and black leggings.
    I mean, I’m not any better, I was wearing nothing but a T-shirt. Anyway, I dreamed that she was chasing me for a hell of a long time, and we were coming from school so I missed my bus stop and stupidly tried to walk my way home… in nothing but a business shirt (long sleeved, buttoned up, long tails, for men, etc). It takes 1 full hour of bussing to go from my house to my university.
    It was night time, and we stopped for some food at a Chinese or Turkish place, I don’t remember, dingy and lowly lit place with one woman in it, and then when she FINALLY caught me as I was running across the street to the other side of the road, and then she raped me, with her fingers.

    Clearly, my subconscious isn’t very happy with who I befriend and where I take naps.

    If it helps, I have been friends with a girl this year that I feel uses me, she only asks for help with homework and editing essays and studying for exams. She is only stressed out when she’s with me and I have told her to her face that you are toxic girl, leave me alone
    Thankfully, we don’t hang out anymore
    I am a girl as well.
    If it helps, we are both African girls, so having a white woman rape me in my dream seems odd

    This is the second time I have dreamed about a white woman raping me, the first time being a shower stall, and after I resisted for a long time, I gave in. I hated it

    The funny thing is, I am a VERY passive person in real life (because I had a religious and conservative upbringning so I don’t make many choices in life for myself), and in dreams, I never take any action ever either.
    The only time I seemed to be an active particpant in my dreams ever were when I tried to run away from these two rape dreams. Now that I think about it, the woman fits the same description as the last rape dream. It’s the same woman raping me over and over again

    What does she want? If it helps, I’m a virgin who has never been in a relationship. God do I hate this. Thank you by the way.

    • RadOwl says:

      What a dream! It shows some powerful feelings are at the heart of it. Your association with the girl who used you for help with school is a big clue that the experience with her is part of the dream. She could represent the woman who rapes you — I see a secondary detail about being ill-prepared for the weather symbolizing being ill-prepared for school and how the experience with the girl could have impacted your preparation. It can be a visual metaphor for feeling exposed. But I think the symbolism could go deeper to express how you feel.

      Strong contrast in dreams is very telling of a strong personal dynamic at play in the dream. First, read this primer on use of comparison and contrast in dreams.

      You point out that the woman is white and you are black (or at least a shade of brown!). That contrast could be the dream’s way of saying that you see something in black n white, as either/or with no shades of grey. But we really have to look at the action of the dream. Rape could be a way of saying “I feel compromised personally.” I wonder if being a black girl in a white-dominated institution makes you feel compromised. You can’t really be yourself, or you feel an expectation to conform to that culture. Even in a “black” college you are still preparing to enter a workforce that’s mostly dominated by white culture.

      If the girl you helped in school is white, that fact could reinforce this idea. Look closely at why you helped her and if you felt obligated for some reason. Search your feelings. Do you feel compromised or taken advantage of? Do you feel like you have no choice?

      The fact that you dream recurrently about being raped by a woman shows that whatever situation is behind the dreams is ongoing. It’s not a one-time event.

      I hope my ideas help you understand the dream.

  2. Lola says:

    Please please please help me as soon as possible.
    I always thought I was raped because I had sexual thoughts as a young child (6 to 8) and violent sexual thoughts. I always hated human contact and dreaded when people touched me. Specially when they (or even myself) touch my belly. I still do. Recently, I started having a dream where my uncle would put me to bed, hike up my skirt and kiss my private parts and belly. It seems like a memory. I wonder: am I making this up? How do I know? I’m afraid I’m lying and just making things up but it seems so real. I dissociate a lot now that I’m a young woman as well.

    • RadOwl says:

      Lola, I was out of town and am just getting around to answering comments here, sorry if to make you wait. Dreams can help you uncover repressed memories, and they can invent scenarios to help you understand how you feel. Were you molested, or do you feel that way? I’m from the school that says you need to recover memories of molestation in a straightforward way. A dream can be the catalyst, the opener of the floodgate, but you have to take it from there. You already know the answer deep inside. No doubt there are reasons why you react so strongly to human contact. It’s possible that the source is something else than molestation and your dreams created the scenario with your uncle as a way of expressing how you feel. Before going to bed, ask your dreams to clarify. And make absolutely sure you’re ready to know the truth. Your dreaming mind might hold back if it thinks the info would cause you serious harm.

  3. ishita says:

    i afraid sometym from my dream its like be ghost or some timei feel in my surrounding last night my dream about some one raped me and the second day dream was some one molest me wht it mean i am soo tense

    • RadOwl says:

      First of all, it’s probably not a premonition. However, do consider the possibility that the dreams could be saying that you are vulnerable and should watch out for yourself better. I don’t know. It’s just a possibility.

      Otherwise, consider the symbolism of rape and molestation. It means “taken advantage of,” “overpowered,” “used,” “disrespected.” It means you feel unsafe. It could be a general feeling in you, or tied to a specific situation in your life. Ponder the dream. Ask yourself if you feel vulnerable. Ask if someone is taking advantage of you. The dreams are looking for you to respond. Acting in the face of fear is the definition of courage. Perhaps that’s the bottom line here. Can you respond to the dreams in a way that makes you feel safer?

As Dr. Frasier Crane says, I'm listening. Leave a comment.