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Justice Dept. Revises Definition Of Rape To Include Male Victims

Jan 6, 2012

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Mark Memmott

Saying that the "new definition is more inclusive, better reflects state criminal codes and focuses on the various forms of sexual penetration understood to be rape," the FBI is revising the way it reports statistics about that crime to include cases where men are the victims and to broaden the overall definition of what constitutes rape.

As USA Today reports, the bureau "is changing its long-standing definition of rape for the first time to include sexual assaults on males following persistent calls from victims advocates who claim that the offense, as currently defined in the agency's annual crime report, has been undercounted for decades."

According to the Justice Department:

"The new definition of rape is: 'The 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.' "...

"The revised definition includes any gender of victim or perpetrator, and includes instances in which the victim is incapable of giving consent because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity, including due to the influence of drugs or alcohol or because of age. The ability of the victim to give consent must be determined in accordance with state statute. Physical resistance from the victim is not required to demonstrate lack of consent. The new definition does not change federal or state criminal codes or impact charging and prosecution on the local level."

Until now, according to USA Today, the FBI has defined rape as the "carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will."

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