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
11/25/2015 Afghan Women Launch 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence - Afghanistan marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and begun participating in the worldwide 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which is being called in Afghanistan "Peace from Home to the World." During the launch day's event, which was attended by government officials, including First Lady Rula Ghani and women's rights activists, speakers expressed their commitment to ending violence against women.
First Lady, Rula Ghani gave a speech on ending violence against women and supporting women by stating that "war often leads society towards violence and this violence is in violation of human dignity. . . .