FBI Closer to Defining Rape As Rape


In a blog entry at ColorLines, Akiba Solomon gives a nod to an FBI advisory board for its recent vote to update the agency's 81-year-old "ridiculous" definition of rape. In the past, rape related only to women, she writes. 

The current definition, which I've cited in this space multiple times and will continue to do so because it's just so ridiculous, is, "The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will." Further, in its FAQs, the FBI has helpfully clarified that, "By definition, sexual attacks on males are excluded from the rape category and must be classified as assaults or other sex offenses depending on the nature of the crime and the extent of injury."


On Tuesday, a key subcommittee of the agency’s Advisory Policy Board (APB) agreed to this working definition:

"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."


If the entire APB votes yes to this more accurate language when it meets in early December, and FBI director Robert Mueller makes it official, the Uniform Crime Report may reflect what rape actually is — sexual violence without consent, including violence inflicted on victims who are intoxicated, not female and not wearing a habit, a Victorian gown with a bustle or a chastity belt.

Read Akiba Solomon's entire post at ColorLines.

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