Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

December-16-11

FBI Director Expects Change in Definition of Rape

(correction from original story)

FBI Director Rober Mueller told a Senate panel Wednesday that the FBI National Crime Information Center Advisory Board recommended to update the current Uniform Crime Report definition of rape that many say is too narrow. He also said his "expectation is it will go into effect sometime this spring." Currently, the FBI defines rape as "the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will."

"This is a very positive development," says Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. "I'm excited to hear that the next steps are being taken toward a new definition, and I'm looking forward to hearing the details. We believe that updating and broadening this archaic definition to count the vast majority of rapes will result in more resources to curb what has been an intolerable level of violence, especially against women."

The new definition, adopted by various committees of the FBI, no longer includes the requirement that the victim must be a woman and takes out the the word "forcible." The new definition says that "rape is 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."

Following a massive grassroots feminist activism campaign, Senate hearings, and many meetings with various levels of the FBI, as well as over 160,000 emails to the Department of Justice and FBI, the FBI's Criminal Justice Advisory Policy Board voted to recommend that the FBI update its 82-year-old definition.

The "Rape is Rape" campaign, launched by the Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms. magazine, went viral on the petition website Change.org, generating tens of thousands emails to the FBI and the Department of Justice urging this change. The update to the definition comes after years of urging by feminist organizations, spearheaded for more than a decade by the Pennsylvania-based Women's Law Project. "Ultimately, accurate data is a fundamental starting point to improving police response to sex crimes and improved practice should led to increased victim confidence in police and reporting," said Carol E. Tracy, Executive Director of the Women's Law Project.



Media Resources: Baltimore Sun 12/15/11; Huffington Post 12/15/11; ABC News 12/14/11; Feminist News 12/7/11


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

7/31/2014 Massachusetts Enacts New Law to Protect Access to Reproductive Health Facilities - Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) signed into law yesterday a bill to help protect access to reproductive health care facilities in the state. The law, entitled An Act to Promote Public Safety and Protect Access to Reproductive Health Care Facilities, enables a law enforcement official to order the "immediate dispersal of a gathering that substantially impedes access to or departure from an entrance or a driveway to a reproductive health care facility." The order would "remain in place for 8 hours or until the close of business of the reproductive health facility, whichever is earlier," and make noncompliance punishable with a fine or jail time. . . .
 
7/31/2014 First World Day Against Human Trafficking Encourages International Action - The first World Day against Trafficking in Persons took place Wednesday in an effort by the United Nations to bring attention to the continuing need for international support to help trafficking victims and end impunity for perpetrators. Millions of people are still trafficked every year, sold to work in brothels, fields, and sweatshops. . . .
 
7/30/2014 Fifth Circuit Court Rules In Favor Of Mississippi's Last Clinic - Mississippi's last remaining abortion clinic will remain open after a the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction against HB 1390, the Mississippi TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) law requiring abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at area hospitals. Had the court not upheld the lower federal's court's injunction, HB 1390 would have shuttered Jackson Women's Health Organization (JWHO), the state's only comprehensive reproductive health center. . . .