Men Now Included In FBI's Rape Definition

For the last 85 years the definition of rape was “carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” This definition did not include males who were raped nor did it include the forced penetration of males or females with an object. For that reason, the FBI is changing its definition to include those two situations. The new definition will classify rape as any type of penetration of another person, regardless of gender, without that person’s consent.

Many advocacy groups have called this definition change one that is necessary and long past due. Vice President Joseph Biden is among those who feel the change was overdue. Biden called the change a “victory for women and men across country whose suffering has gone unaccounted for over 80 years.” The change will also help a great deal in understanding the true number of rapes that occur in Texas and throughout the country. According to many, the actual number of rape and sexual assault victims has been undercounted for decades.

Some advocacy groups have pointed out that the problem with the previous definition of rape and the subsequent reporting of those figures is that they were never accurate and possibly even misleading. If the numbers are not accurately reported, it makes it more challenging to monitor the problem and apply necessary resources to assess allegations of rape. The FBI’s crime report, which includes rape, is one resource that helps determine the amount of federal and state monies that are allocated to the victims of sex crimes.

Rape is an extremely difficult and sensitive issue for people to discuss. This is true for victims, alleged perpetrators, families, friends, law enforcement agents and any others who may have a stake in the outcome of a rape case.

The revisions being made to the definition of rape are designed to help all those involved and provide more realistic statistics to better assist and identify victims and aid with more accurate representation of any alleged occurrences of rape. Having a clear, consistent, complete definition of any type of crime benefits everyone, especially when the crime alleged is something as serious as rape.


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