Violence Against Women

Campaign Update: Rape is Rape

The FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Service is considering modernizing the definition of rape, which currently does not include forced anal sex and/or oral sex, vaginal or anal fisting, rape with an object (even if serious injuries result), and other injurious and degrading sexual assaults. As a result of the FBI’s outmoded definition of rape, thousands of sexual assaults each year are not documented in the federal government’s annual crime report, and as a result, fewer federal, state and local resources are allocated to providing services to rape victims and stopping rapists.

The Feminist Majority Foundation is collaborating with the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia to reach police and sheriff’s officials at the local and national level to advocate for changing the FBI’s definition. Carol Tracey, executive director of the Women’s Law Project, stated, “The public has the right to know about the prevalence of crime and violent crime in our communities, and we know that data drives practices, resources, policies and programs. It’s critical that we strive to have accurate information about this.”

In response to a survey by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), eighty percent of surveyed police departments agreed that the definition should be changed. In addition, at the PERF meeting on September 23, an FBI representative announced that the FBI agrees that a change is needed and will be considered at the FBI subcommittee meeting to be held in mid-October.

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