An FBI advisory board overwhelmingly voted to update the narrow, archaic way the agency defines rape on Tuesday, a move that women’s rights advocates hailed as a long-overdue success.
This definition, which has not been updated since 1929, is narrower than the one used by many police departments around the country, and women’s rights advocates say it leads to the under-counting of thousands of sexual assaults each year.
At a meeting in Albuquerque, N.M. on Tuesday, the FBI’s Criminal Justice Advisory Policy Board voted to change the definition of rape in its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Summary Reporting System, following the recommendation of a lower panel in October. The new terminology 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 the consent of the victim.”
This new definition expands the old one by taking out the requirement of a “forcible” assault and the restriction that the attack must be toward a woman. It also now includes non-vaginal/penile rape and rape by a blood relative.
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