FBI revises definition of rape established in 1929
The FBI's more than eight-decade-old definition of rape has been revised to count men as victims for the first time and to drop the requirement that victims must have physically resisted their attackers. The new definition will increase the number of people counted as rape victims in FBI statistics, but will not change federal or state laws nor alter charges or prosecutions, according to the Associated Press.
Since 1929, the FBI has defined rape as the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.
The revised FBI definition says that rape is "the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object," without the consent of the victim. Also constituting rape under the new definition is "oral penetration by a sex organ of another person" without consent.
The issue got top-level White House attention starting last July, when Vice President Joe Biden raised it at a Cabinet meeting. According to the Associated Press, Biden said the new definition is a victory for women and men "whose suffering has gone unaccounted for over 80 years." Calling rape a "devastating crime," the vice president said "we can't solve it unless we know the full extent of it."
Using the old definition, a total of 84,767 rapes were reported nationwide in 2010, according to the FBI's uniform crime report based on data from 18,000 law enforcement agencies, reported the Associated Press. Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the U.S. have been raped at some time in their lives, according to a 2010 survey by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which used a broader definition.
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