Rape definition broadened to include men

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Courtesy of CNN:

Attorney General Eric Holder says the new definition will lead to a more comprehensive statistical reporting of rape nationwide.

Washington (CNN) — The Justice Department announced Friday that it is expanding its decades-old definition of rape to include attacks against men.

Now, any kind of nonconsensual penetration, no matter the gender of the attacker or victim, will constitute rape.

The crime of rape will now be defined as “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 Justice Department said.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the new definition will lead to a more comprehensive statistical reporting of rape nationwide.

“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,” Holder said. “This new, more inclusive definition will provide us with a more accurate understanding of the scope and volume of these crimes.”

An FBI advisory panel recently recommended the revision to the longstanding definition, which was established in 1927.

The law then defined rape as “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.” That meant that it was only an act of rape if a man forcibly penetrated a woman through her vagina. It 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.

The revised definition includes any gender of victim or perpetrator. It also includes instances in which a victim is incapable of giving consent because of mental or physical incapacity, such as intoxication. Physical resistance is not required to demonstrate lack of consent.

“Rape is a devastating crime and we can’t solve it unless we know the full extent of it,” said Vice President Joe Biden, author of the 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.”

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