“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.”
This is the new, expansive definition of rape approved by the FBI last week, which will more accurately reflect how sexual assaults are tabulated by the government in its Uniform Crime Report. The FBI’s working definition of “rape,” created in the 1920s, had been roundly criticized by everyone from police chiefs, sex crime investigators, and victims’ advocate for only defining assault as “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.” That definition entirely left out male victims and ignored incidents when the victim was penetrated against his or her will orally, anally, with an object, and under the influence of drugs or alcohol (such as being roofied). As a result, the number of sexual assaults released by the FBI’s annual crime report drastically under-reported the crimes perpetrated in the country.
I was surprised and dismayed to read on CNN, however, that all reporting to the FBI’s is voluntary. That means the nation’s 18,000 police stations are not obligated to report sexual assault to the federal government, which again will skew the data.
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