The FBI's Uniform Crime Report (UCR) counts American crimes and allocates resources to police departments, so it matters what they define as a misdemeanor and what they don't. The definition of rape in this report is over eight decades old, and thousands of women across America are calling for an amendment.
A petition, currently boasting 75,000 signatures, has been made available by Change.org in an effort to update the definition, which currently characterizes forcible rape as "the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will." The petition is part of a Ms. magazine campaign called, "Rape is Rape" which seeks to deliver justice to rape victims that go unacknowledged under current laws.
There are three main issues with the current definition, according to the Change.org petition. One is the room for interpretation in the phrase "carnal knowledge." Currently, this only includes traditional intercourse, and excludes cases of penetration with an object, and non-consensual anal and oral penetration from being termed rape.
Also at issue is the use of the term "forcibly," since many victims of rape are in no position to put up a fight. Victims ignored under this term include the physically or mentally disabled, unconscious victims, and those under the influence of alcohol or date-rape drugs.
Lastly, the designation of rape as "female" has become limiting as crimes of a sexual nature increasingly affect more than just women. Men, boys, and transgender people are currently ineligible rape victims under FBI statutes.
According to experts, rape in the United States may be reported as few as 1 in 24 times due to the confines of the FBI's operating definition. At stake in this battle for reform is the justice brought against the other 23 rape perpetrators. Should we be letting them get away?
To add your voice to the chorus calling for change, click here and sign the petition.
Marie Claire Newsletter
Celebrity news, beauty, fashion advice, and fascinating features, delivered straight to your inbox!
Christie Brinkley Thinks Dolly Parton’s Next Age-Defying Wow Moment Should Be the Cover of the ‘Sports Illustrated’ Swimsuit Issue
First, Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. Next, SI cover girl?
By Rachel Burchfield
Just Helena Bonham Carter Being Fabulous
I'm sorry, did you need another reason?
By Alicia Lutes
Charli XCX's Song "Speed Drive" Took the Top Spot on Her Own Spotify Wrapped
By Fleurine Tideman
36 Ways Women Still Aren't Equal to Men
It's just one of the many ways women still aren't equal to men.
By Brooke Knappenberger
How New York's First Female Governor Plans to Fight for Women If Reelected
Kathy Hochul twice came to power because men resigned amid sexual harassment scandals. Here, how she's leading differently.
By Emily Tisch Sussman
Why the 2022 Midterm Elections Are So Critical
As we blaze through a highly charged midterm election season, Swing Left Executive Director Yasmin Radjy highlights rising stars who are fighting for women’s rights.
By Tanya Benedicto Klich
Tammy Duckworth: 'I’m Mad as Hell' About the Lack of Federal Action on Gun Safety
The Illinois Senator won't let the memory of the Highland Park shooting just fade away.
By Sen. Tammy Duckworth
Roe Is Gone. We Have to Keep Fighting.
Democracy always offers a path forward even when we feel thrust into the past.
By Beth Silvers and Sarah Stewart Holland, hosts of Pantsuit Politics Podcast
The Supreme Court's Mississippi Abortion Rights Case: What to Know
The case could threaten Roe v. Wade.
By Megan DiTrolio
Sex Trafficking Victims Are Being Punished. A New Law Could Change That.
Victims of sexual abuse are quietly criminalized. Sara's Law protects kids that fight back.
By Dr. Devin J. Buckley and Erin Regan
My Family and I Live in Navajo Nation. We Don't Have Access to Clean Running Water
"They say that the United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Why are citizens still living with no access to clean water?"
By Amanda L. As Told To Rachel Epstein