After years of pressure from activists and a surprising push by local police departments, the FBI is planning to revise its 80-year-old, ridiculously narrow definition of so-called forcible rape, The New York Times reports.
At a Police Executive Forum meeting last week about the limits of the federal definition and the underreporting of rape in general, Greg Scarbro, the FBI’s unit chief for the Uniformed Crime Report, told the Times that the agency would address the issue in an October 18th subcommittee meeting. “Our goal will be to leave that meeting with a definition and a mechanism,” he said.
The Uniform Crime Report, which is supposed to be the federal gold standard of crime statistics, currently defines rape as “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will” and notes that “attempts or assaults to commit rape by force or threat of force are also included; however, statutory rape (without force) and other sex offenses are excluded.”
As I’ve noted here before, this definition straight-up excludes the rape of men. It also discounts forced oral and anal sex and an assault with an object. The result: What is very likely mass underreporting of a dehumanizing, devastating crime. And a powerful statistical contribution to the “she-cried-rape” argument that discounts victims of all stripes. This makes no sense. None.
In the run-up to the way overdue October 18th meeting that will finally acknowledge decades of Rape 101, check out the Feminist Majority Foundation’s campaign, Rape is Rape: No More Excuses. There you’ll find ways to keep the pressure on.