FBI Petition Take Action! Rape is Rape
A petition demanding the Federal Bureau of Investigation update it’s 80-year-old definition of forcible rape is now online at Change.Org. The petition was started by Ms. magazine after the publication of its article “If a woman isn’t bruised and bleeding, will her rape be counted?“. For background information on this issue or to sign the petition, click here. Here is the content of the petition letter.
Change the “forcible” rape definition Greetings, I was shocked to learn that the FBI uses an archaic definition of rape (“The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will”) to gather statistics for the Uniform Crime Report. This definition, drafted more than 80 years ago, is problematic for many reasons, chief among them that it excludes victims of forced anal or oral sex, rape with an object, statutory rape, and male rape. Moreover, this definition is often used by law enforcement to exclude rapes of women whose ability to give consent has been diminished by drugs or alcohol. This poses several problems: 1. This archaic definition of what constitutes “real rape” affects perception of the crime by law enforcement, and likely impacts the treatment of rape victims 2. With such an incomplete description, the FBI has undercounted rapes by hundreds of thousands of cases, resulting in an inaccurate understanding of the scope of the problem. 3. Without accurate rape statistics, allocation of funding to (and within) local law enforcement to combat and investigate crime will be misdirected away from this terrible crime. It’s high time for the FBI to recognize this error and modernize the definition to reflect the reality of rape in the United States. Please update the Uniform Crime Report so that the definition of rape includes all victims. Every rape should be counted.