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25,000 call on NY to call a rape a rape!

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Click here and become one of the 25,000+ calling on NY to call a rape a rape! 

New York’s Rape is Rape Bill proposed by Assemblywoman  Aravella Simotas will redefine rape adopting a consistent standard of contact rather than the current standard of penetration, further it will call forcible oral and anal contact what they are – Rape.

There are many reasons to support this bill.  Here are our top three:

  • Rape is not just a legal term

  • Consistency with a National Standard

  • Respect for victims

Rape is not just a legal term

Making the legal definition of rape consistent with the everyday meaning of rape will make prosecutors jobs easier.  It will also clarify in a post Steubenville world that rape is rape.  There should be no excuse for abuse.  The law should set clear, easily communicated standards that we, the public, can easily understand.  The Rape is Rape Bill does that.

We looked at Google’s search data to see what we the people search for when we enter the word rape, the most searched for term is “was I raped.”  Other top search terms include man raped, boy raped, guy raped and anally raped.

“I don’t have a vagina, but I was raped as a child”  Andrew Willis, New York

Sadly both straight and gay men get raped, almost 1 in 6 of them as children, and in a state that recognises marriage equality we believe we should also recognise rape equality.

Consistency with a National Standard

After significant public consultation and debate Attorney General Eric Holder announced revisions to the Uniform Crime Report’s definition of rape, stating that this would mean data reported on rape will better reflect state criminal codes and Victim Experiences.

The new definition of rape is: “The 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.” The definition is used by the FBI to collect information from local law enforcement agencies about reported rapes.  The Uniform Crime Report is well respected and nationally quoted including by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

The longstanding, narrow definition of forcible rape, first established in 1927, is “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.” It thus included only forcible male penile penetration of a female vagina and excluded oral and anal penetration; rape of males; penetration of the vagina and anus with an object or body part other than the penis; rape of females by females; and non-forcible rape.

Labelling differing forms of rape, vaginal, anal and oral rape will continue to reinforce a view of difference when in fact the root causes of the crime, power and control, and the victim impact are exactly the same.

Respect for victims

For victims like Lydia Cuomo to come to terms with being raped is hard enough, for the justice system not to recognise rape as rape is to re-victimise victims in favor of perpetrators.  New York should pass the Rape is Rape Bill.  The revised definition of rape sends an important message to the broad range of rape victims that they are supported and to perpetrators that they will be held accountable.

A distinction between Rape, Oral Rape and Anal Rape as proposed in the Senate legislation perpetuates the intractable fallacy of “real or legitimate rape” as contrasted with violations of the mouth and anus as not real rape. Rape is rape and it should be simply known as such.

Our petition to redefine rape in New York State has now attracted more than 25,000 signatures.

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