In the course of this thread I mentioned that Captain Louis Renault, Prefect of Police, was a rapist.
I was surprised when some of you disagreed with me, because I’d always accepted this as a given: Louis controlled exit visas from Casablanca to Lisbon. Portugal was a neutral country, so anyone who wanted to get to the United States (which set included hundreds or thousands of Europeans fleeing the Nazis) had to go to Lisbon and arrange for passage by ship.
Louis dispensed the exit visas…in exchange for sex, in the case of pretty female refugees. He didn’t care what the women’s circumstances were, or even if they were married. Those were his terms.
These women had seen nation after nation fall to the Nazis, and had no good reason to think Casablanca would remain a refuge for long. They had seen or heard about what happened to many of their friends and family back home; some of them were themselves escapees from concentration camps. They knew the Nazis brought death and torture, and had good reason to believe they wouldn’t be safe until they reached the U.S.
Therefore, although Louis, unlike most rapists, did not use force or the threat of force to get these women to sleep with him, there was a very clear choice in the women’s minds: consent to sex with Captain Renault, or die. And I think that constitutes rape.