FBI Redefines Rape for Reporting Purposes

By Carlton Purvis

Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Friday that among revisions to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR), the Justice Department has redefined the definition of rape for crime reporting purposes. Holder says the new definition will lead to more comprehensive reporting. The definition is used by the FBI to collect information from local law enforcement agencies about reported rapes.

The new definition does not change federal or state criminal codes or impact charging and prosecution on the local level, says the Justice Department Web site.

The new definition of rape is: “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.”

The prior definition of rape, established in 1927, was “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.”

The old definition included forcible male penile penetration of a female vagina but excluded oral and anal penetration, rape of males, penetration of the vagina and anus with an object or body part other than the penis, rape of females by females, and non-forcible rape.

The revised definition includes any gender of victim or perpetrator and incidents where a person is incapable of giving consent. These include “temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity, including due to the influence of drugs or alcohol or because of age.”

With the new definition, physical resistance of the victim is not required for an act to be considered rape.

photo by WeNews/flickr


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