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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rape is Rape Campaign

The page for overall campaign is http://www.feminist.org/nomoreexcuses/ -- which includes this effort to change the FBI UCR (Uniform Crime Report) definition as well as efforts to get rape kits fully and timely tested.

Regarding the UCR definition "carnal knowledge of a female with force and against her will"

Written more than 80 years ago
Excludes victims of forced anal or oral sex,
Excludes victims of rape with an object,
Excludes male (and probably transgender) victims of rape
Often excludes rape victims whose ability to give consent has been diminished by drugs or alcohol, or by physical or mental disability (because of misinterpretations of both "forced" and "against her will")

This poses several problems:

This archaic definition of what constitutes "real rape" affects perception of the crime by law enforcement, and likely impacts the treatment of rape victims
With such an incomplete description, the FBI has undercounted rapes by hundreds of thousands of cases, resulting in an inaccurate understanding of the scope of the problem.
Without accurate rape statistics, allocation of funding to (and within) local law enforcement to combat and investigate crime will be misdirected away from this terrible crime.

It’s high time for the FBI to recognize this error and modernize the definition to reflect the reality of rape in the United States.

Our request to the FBI: Please update the Uniform Crime Report so that the definition of rape includes all victims.

It's a pretty straightforward campaign – we are putting public pressure on Robert Mueller via the Rape is Rape campaign (part of our larger No More Excuses campaign) as well as working "within the system" so to speak, as we talk with the policy makers in the CJIS (Criminal Justice Information Service), a part of the FBI which works with the UCR system and data.