Shattering the Silence of Sexual Violence in the New Year: FBI’s New and Improved Definition of Rape

The new year is marked with change for the better as we work to improve something about ourselves or the world around us. This time of year made it all the more exciting to hear from Ms. Magazine that the FBI is officially redefining ‘rape.’ Huffington Post explained that the new definition removes ‘forcible’ to broaden the requirement of what is consider rape to include victims who are unable to give consent. The new definition also removes language that requires the victim be a woman.

I have been personally following the Ms. and Feminist Majority Foundation campaign, Rape is Rape: No More Excuses, which was sparked by the discovery that the FBI’s definition of ‘rape’ limited police departments from reporting all rape cases to be represented in federal statistics. Without a broader definition the prevalence and seriousness of rape and sexual violence is not made obvious to the public because it is misreported altering crime trend statistics. An article in The New York Times also pointed out that these inaccurate statistics affect the amount of resources made available to law enforcement and private agencies alike to put towards ending this violence.

This is indefinitely a step towards bringing attention to the devastating prevalence of sexual violence in the United States. With more information brought to the public’s attention there should be an increased awareness and higher demand to work on prevention that will lead to an end of rape and sexual violence!