Assault or abuse (a person, especially a woman or child) sexually.

It's Lexico's definition. From the definition, it's not entirely clear whether it covers cases of rape or not. Does it? Is raping a special case of molesting or a whole another action?

  • If you're asking a question about the language of the law, the answer depends on the jurisdiction; if you're asking a question about the vernacular use of the term, the answer depends on the context. – user105719 Jan 12 at 8:08
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    The term for sexually and violently penetrating a person against their will is rape. – Mari-Lou A Jan 12 at 9:11
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    This is a legal question. Are you looking for a legal answer or is there a specific example of use that you want to ask about. – James K Jan 12 at 10:06
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    Sergey, answer user105719's question. 'Molest' can mean to push, touch or attack someone in an unwanted way, sexual or otherwise. You might be molested by mosquitoes if you camp near a swamp. Some legal jurisdictions have a specific term 'molestation' for sexual assaults; they can range from touching all the way to penetration. – Michael Harvey Jan 12 at 20:37
  • @MichaelHarvey If I sought a legal answer, I wouldn't post the question here – Sergey Zolotarev Jan 14 at 8:28

As is already pointed out in the comments from @Michael:

The best answer you are going to get will be based on the dictionary meanings of 'molest', e.g. (Cambridge Dictionary) "to touch or attack someone in a sexual way against their wishes", and "to touch, push, etc. someone violently"

From this, we can infer that rape is a type of molestation, but not all molestation is rape.

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    That rape is a subset of molestation? – Michael Harvey Jan 16 at 17:35
  • Yep exactly @Michael – Bee Jan 16 at 20:18

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