The FBI’s “forcible rape” definition

While the GOP tries to redefine rape and exclude survivors in their anti-choice ventures this year, it looks like the FBI has been way ahead of the game on that front.

Yep, the definition of rape used in the bureau’s Uniform Crime Report is pretty damn vintage. And not vintage like 70s vintage — this jammy hasn’t been updated since 1929, Kate Sheppard reports. And oh, is it problematic. Here is the language:

The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. Included are rapes by force and attempts or assaults to rape. Statutory offenses (no force used–victim under age of consent) are excluded.

This is not to mention it excludes victims of anal or oral rape, male rape, the rape of people with disabilities, and according to the Feminist Majority addresses in their letter, “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.”

Yes, this archaic definition of rape was created before these conversations around consent really started happening on a larger level — but now that we do know, it’s time we remind them to take accountability and do something about it. Sign the letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller and Eric Holder here.

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  • nazza

    I hope this policy includes the input of both men and women.

  • Jaime Michelle

    watching the royal wedding briefly made me come to one conclusion… FBI’s definition of rape is almost as old as QueenElizabethII.. and that’s OLD.

    1920s?? errr… 2010s?

  • Zaskoda

    I appreciate that you included males in your list of what’s missing. To be honest, I am one of those folks who worry about rolling “date rape” into the same category as forced. This is only because I’ve personally known it to be abused twice. In one case, it destroyed a man’s life. To that extent, I feel like the conversation around the definition still needs some development. Or, perhaps, everyone is neglecting a discussion on the penalty for false claims, as I believe those can often be more damaging to a life than the rape itself. Personally, I feel that this is where a lot of the debate is emotionally rooted but, for some reason, isn’t really being frequently discussed.