Dept. of Justice Broadens Definition of Rape After 84 Years

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

After nearly 85 years the Department of Justice is updating its definition of rape.

The antiquated version does not include men as victims or women as perpetrators. The new definition expands on what is considered rape as any form of non-consensual penetration.

It reads: "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.

"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 Justices' commitment to standing with rape victims," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a press release.

Jane Graham Jennings, the executive director of The Women's Community in Wausau, says the move shows progress.

"That it is in headlines, that it is being called out, and that people are discussing it I think is a giant step forward in helping us remove the shame that victims feel," she said.

Graham Jennings says under reporting of rape and sexual assault continues to be a problem because victims feel ashamed, even though it is not their fault.

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