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The FBI’s Restrictive Definition Of Rape

As April, which has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness month, winds down, numerous women’s rights advocates are calling attention to the FBI’s restrictive definition of rape — a definition that they say inadequately encompasses al…

As April, which has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness month, winds down, numerous women’s rights advocates are calling attention to the FBI’s restrictive definition of rape — a definition that they say inadequately encompasses all forms of the crime.

When Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) incited outrage by proposing to confine the definition of rape to instances of “forcible rape” in H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion” Act, it was a little-known fact FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR) had been using this classification since 1929 — making the definition, as Ms. Magazine points out, almost as old as sliced bread.

The UCR’s summary reporting system, which functions as the rubric for measuring national crime data, defines rape as “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.”

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