U.S. to Expand Its Definition of Rape in Statistics
By CHARLIE SAVAGE January 6, 2012
WASHINGTON — The federal government is changing its longstanding definition of “forcible rape” in compiling national crime statistics — expanding both the definition of victims, to include males, and the types of sexual assault that will be counted in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report.
The new definition, which has been in the works for several months and was formally announced by the Obama administration on Friday, will replace a narrower definition of “forcible rape” with one that includes, among other things, forcible oral or anal penetration. The narrower definition, which is limited to vaginal penetration, has been used since the 1920s in tracking how often such crimes are reported around the country.
Victim advocacy groups have long criticized the old definition as outdated, saying it left out many crimes that were prosecuted as rape under state laws but that were not reflected in national statistics. Last year, an F.B.I. advisory committee of law enforcement agencies agreed to a Justice Department request to update the definition….
The old definition — “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will” — covered only forcible penetration of a woman’s vagina by a penis, and excluded many other kinds of sexual assaults that count as rape under more modern definitions.
For example, the outdated definition did not count forcible anal or oral penetration, the penetration of the vagina or anus with an object or other body part, the rape of a man, or the rape of a woman by another woman.
It also did not cover nonconsensual sex that does not involve physical force — like the rape of people who are unable to grant consent because they are drugged, very drunk or younger than the age of statutory consent in their state, a number that varies across the country.
The new definition, which was drafted with input from local and state law enforcement agencies based on more modernized rape laws, encompasses a broader range of such circumstances. Specifically, it covers the “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/07/us/politics/federal-crime-statistics-to-expand-rape-definition.html
FBI changes definition of rape to add men as victims
By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY 1/6/2012
WASHINGTON — The FBI is changing its long-standing definition of rape for the first time to include sexual assaults on males following persistent calls from victims advocates who claim that the offense, as currently defined in the agency’s annual crime report, has been undercounted for decades.
Under the current definition, established 85 years ago, many of the sex crimes alleged in the ongoing prosecution of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky would not be counted in the bureau’s Uniform Crime Report, one of the most reliable measures of crime in the United States.
Sandusky is accused in alleged assaults and sexual misconduct involving 10 male victims.
Rape is currently defined as the “carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.”
The new provision will define rape as any kind of penetration of another person, regardless of gender, without the victim’s consent.
“This long-awaited change to the definition of rape is a victory for women and men across the country whose suffering has gone unaccounted for over 80 years,” Vice President Biden, who has worked extensively on domestic-violence issues, said in a statement released Thursday. http://www.usatoday.com/NEWS/usaedition/2012-01-06-Rape_ST_U.htm