I didn’t know about this until yesterday. And now that I know it, I’m angry I didn’t know about it sooner.
For decades now, when the government compiled national crime statistics, the number of sexual assaults reported was lower than it should’ve been. That’s because the FBI’s definition of rape — “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will” — didn’t include penetration with an object, instances when someone was roofied, cases with male victims, the rape of women by other women, or anything that happened with Jerry Sandusky at Penn State.
Why is all this so important?
Many law enforcement officials and advocates for women say that this underreporting misleads the public about the prevalence of rape and results in fewer federal, state and local resources being devoted to catching rapists and helping rape victims. Rape crisis centers are among groups that cite the federal figures in applying for private and public financing.
The definition of rape has now changing under the Obama administration. Rape will now be defined in the Uniform Crime Report like this:
“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.”
It’s still disturbing to hear that all reporting to the UCR is voluntary because it suggests the underreporting of rape will continue.
That is serious courage and strength right there. To suggest that rape isn’t rape because of how it happened or who it happened to or the age of the victim is an injustice and it’s about damn time the government updated their reporting of it.