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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
UNITED STATES: US Redefines Rape; Adds Men, Others as Victims
Pete Yost
January 10, 2012
Associated Press (01.06.12) - Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Obama administration has expanded the FBI's definition of rape to include men as possible victims and dropped the requirement that a victim must have physically resisted the attack. Crime statistics affect the allocation of money and resources for prevention programs and assistance, and the revised definition will increase the number of rapes counted by the FBI. However, it will not affect federal or state laws, or charges and prosecutions.

For more than eight decades, the FBI has defined rape as carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will. The new FBI definition covers any gender of victim or attacker, and it applies to situations where the victim is incapable of giving consent, including due to drugs, alcohol or age. Physical resistance is not required. Rape is "the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object" without the victim's consent. The definition also covers "oral penetration by a sex organ of another person" without consent.

The issue received high-level White House attention after Vice President Joe Biden raised it during a July 2011 Cabinet meeting. The Department of Justice said the new definition mirrors the majority of rape statutes now on the books in individual states.

Of the $592 million Congress approved to address violence against women this year, $39 million is for rape prevention and education programming administered by CDC.