Rape is one violent form of oppression and is a mechanism by which individuals or groups gain, express and maintain their dominance and power over others. This is evident when rape is used as a tool of war, when men are raped in jail, or when rape occurs on the basis of someone's race, age, ability or sexuality. Rape is about the use and abuse of power to intimidate, degrade or control others with less status. The fact that women and children are raped more often than men is a manifestation of lesser power and inferior status in society.
Structural and institutional powers and societal beliefs maintain a culture where women have less power and status. Power imbalance or discrimination is also practised on the grounds of race, class, sexuality, age and ability. Sexual violence for women then, is not only an extension of sexism, but often exists in conjunction with these other forms of oppression.