The Associated Press reports (via the Washington Post):
The Obama administration on Friday expanded the FBI’s more than eight-decade-old definition of rape to count men as victims for the first time and to drop the requirement that victims must have physically resisted their attackers.
The new definition will increase the number of people counted as rape victims in FBI statistics, but it will not change federal or state laws or alter charges or prosecutions. It’s an important shift because lawmakers and policymakers use crime statistics to allocate money and other resources for prevention and victim assistance.
The White House said the change was not motivated by the recent Penn State child sex-abuse scandal. Indeed, the expanded definition has been long awaited as many states and research groups made similar changes in their definitions of rape over recent decades.
Senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett called the change a “very, very important step.” The issue got top-level White House attention starting last July, when Vice President Joe Biden raised it at a Cabinet meeting.
Biden, author of the Violence Against Women Act when he was in the Senate, said the new definition is a victory for women and men “whose suffering has gone unaccounted for over 80 years.” Calling rape a “devastating crime,” the vice president said, “We can’t solve it unless we know the full extent of it.”…
Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the U.S. have been raped at some time in their lives, according to a 2010 survey by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which used a broader definition.
Those figures were what framed much of the discussion, said Lynn Rosenthal, the White House adviser on violence against women.
1 in 71? Somehow I suspect that’s inaccurate. Read more here.