We did it! Late yesterday afternoon, the FBI Criminal Justice Advisory Board voted unanimously to update the archaic definition of rape in the FBI Uniform Crime Report in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Now, FBI Director Robert Mueller must give final approval to update the measure. This is the last step!
If approved by Mueller, this will represent a major policy change, and one that will dramatically impact the way rape is reported and tracked in the U.S. This new definition will mean that, at long last, we will begin to see the full scope of this horrific violence, and that understanding will carry through to increased attention and resources for prevention and action.
The current definition from the 1920s, which has been criticized for underreporting rape and omitting a significant number of rape cases, defined "forcible rape" only as "the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will." The proposed UCR definition of what constitutes rape will be more consistent with public understanding and state criminal statutes and will include previously excluded rape cases.
Yesterday's unanimous vote recommends a new, more inclusive definition of rape in the UCR: "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."