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article imageFBI changes definition of rape so that it includes men as victims

By Joan Firstenberg     Jan 6, 2012 in Crime
Washington - The Obama administration has expanded the FBI’s eight-decade-old definition of rape so that men can be counted as victims. The change discards the requirement that victims must have physically resisted their attackers.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the new definition of the word, rape, will lead to a clearer picture of sexual assault in America. The key meaning of this is that in the eyes of the law men will now be considered to be victims of rape.
The New York Daily News reports that advocates of the change are applauding the FBI's decision. And Vice-President Joe Biden who brought the issue up during a Cabinet meeting last July, said in a statement that he's pleased.
“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."
The new definition of rape as it appears on the FBI website is,
“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 changes include the removal of the word "forcible" from the definition of rape, a word that had been in it since 1927. People who had lobbied for a change for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence have long called the standard exclusionary and limited by its definition that included this phrase,
“Carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.”
This may affect former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, who is accused of sexually abusing boys. Under the FBI's old definition, Sandusky's accusers would not be considered rape victims.
The Washington Post reports that the new definition will increase the number of people that can be counted as rape victims in FBI statistics. But it will have no effect on federal or state laws or alter charges or prosecutions. Policymakers and lawmakers use crime statistics for allocating the resources for prevention and victim assistance.
Under the old definition, in 2010, the FBI reported that 84,767 rapes occurred nationwide. According to a 2010 survey by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the U.S. have been raped at some point in their lives.
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