Attorney General Eric Holder Announces Revisions to the Uniform Crime Report’s Definition of Rape
Jacquelyn White, Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences, University of North Carolina at Greensboro is a main board Director of the Stop Abuse Campaign and Co-chair of the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence (NPEIV)
Jacquelyn W. White, PhD Professor of Psychology
Associate Dean for Research 273 Eberhart
College of Arts & Sciences 336-334-5066 (fax)
P O Box 27160
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
|“This long-awaited change to the definition of rape is a victory for women and men across the country whose suffering has gone unaccounted for over 80 years.” Vice President Joe Biden|
|“These long overdue updates to the definition of rape will help ensure justice for those whose lives have been devastated by sexual violence and reflect the Department of Justice’s commitment to standing with rape victims.” Attorney General Eric Holder|
Previous definition: the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.
Problem: Narrow and has been in use since 1927.
New definition: 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.
Advantage: Recognizes that many forms of sexual penetration are to be understood to be rape. It now includes victims and perpetrators regardless of gender and it no longer requires physical resistance as an indicator of lack of consent. Thus, victims who are incapacitated due to drugs or alcohol, or other factors that reduce mental or physical capacity to consent are “real” victims.
- It empowers victims. Victims of all forms of rape now are recognized as “real” victims and have access to all resources and support available to crime victims.
- It sends a message to perpetrators that all forms of rape will be taken seriously and that they will be held accountable. Law enforcement t can now more vigorously and systematically pursue arrest and prosecution.
- It will give law enforcement the ability to report more complete rape offense data. The nation will have a more accurate view of the scope and volume of rape. Such an understanding will lead to the development of better intervention and prevention programs.
WASHINGTON—Attorney General Eric Holder today announced revisions to the Uniform Crime Report’s (UCR) definition of rape, which will lead to a more comprehensive statistical reporting of rape nationwide. The new definition is more inclusive, better reflects state criminal codes and focuses on the various forms of sexual penetration understood to be rape. 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.
“Rape is a devastating crime and we can’t solve it unless we know the full extent of it,” said Vice President Biden, a leader in the effort to end violence against women for over 20 years and author of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. “This long-awaited change to the definition of rape is a victory for women and men across the country whose suffering has gone unaccounted for over 80 years.”
To read the complete Press Release click here.