The FBI's Criminal Justice Information Service is considering modernizing the definition of rape, which currently does not include forced anal sex and/or oral sex, vaginal or anal fisting, rape with an object (even if serious injuries result), and other injurious and degrading sexual assaults. As a result of the FBI's outmoded definition of rape, thousands of sexual assaults each year are not documented in the federal government's annual crime report, and as a result, fewer federal, state and local resources are allocated to providing services to rape victims and stopping rapists.
The Feminist Majority Foundation is collaborating with the Women's Law Project in Philadelphia to reach police and sheriff's officials at the local and national level to advocate for changing the FBI's definition. Carol Tracey, executive director of the Women's Law Project, stated, "The public has the right to know about the prevalence of crime and violent crime in our communities, and we know that data drives practices, resources, policies and programs. It's critical that we strive to have accurate information about this."
In response to a survey by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), eighty percent of surveyed police departments agreed that the definition should be changed. In addition, at the PERF meeting on September 23, an FBI representative announced that the FBI agrees that a change is needed and will be considered at the FBI subcommittee meeting to be held in mid-October.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation email 9/29/11; New York Times 9/28/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 9/14/10
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .