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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

July-17-15

President Obama's Definition of Rape is a Sign of Progress

Following a White House press conference on the deal recently struck with Iran, President Obama was posed with a question about Bill Cosby and his admittance of using drugs to have sex with women. In response, he called the act rape, giving a modern definition of consent that has feminists across the country applauding.

"If you give a woman - or a man, for that matter - without his or her knowledge a drug and then have sex with that person without consent, that's rape," the President said. "I think this country, any civilized country, should have no tolerance for rape."

This comprehensive definition of rape vastly differs from one used FBI used a mere three years ago, which read "carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will," and had not been changed since 1929. Thanks in part to the "Rape is Rape" campaign led by the Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms. magazine, the new definition is much more broad, including persons of all genders, and says 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 consent of the victim." Although this FBI definition still leaves out some concepts of comprehensive consent, it was applauded a leap in the right direction.

The Obama administration has been clear from the beginning in making the prevention of sexual assault a priority. "Rape is rape is rape," said Vice President Joe Biden back in 2011, leading up to the release of the I's On Us campaign to combat sexual assault on college campuses.

Media Resources: Mother Jones 7/15/15; Feminist Newswire 1/9/12; Huffington Post 12/15/11


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

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