Sex in the News: Redefining Rape

On Friday the U.S. Department of Justice scrapped their outdated definition of rape in favour of one that recognizes both men and women can be victims, and rape is not limited to forced vaginal sex.
The new definition of rape is, “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 consent of the victim.” The previous definition created by the FBI’s Uniform Report was made in 1927 and stated rape as “The carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.”
So what does this change really mean? Well it means that physical resistance is not necessary to show the victim did not give consent. This means if consent is not given because of “temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity,” which includes being intoxicated or underage, it can still be rape.
The new definition will however, not change the way local law enforcement responds to rape crimes. Most police departments already use an updated version of the FBI’s definition. What this definition will do is change how the FBI tracks sexual violence and rape in its reporting system. The hope is that with the new definition victims will feel more comfortable coming forward, in cases where they previously may have felt¬†embarrassed.
Now let’s see if someone can come up with an effective non victim-shaming, teach people not to rape campaign.
Leah is in her last semester at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. Most of her life is currently dedicated to being a Senior Online Editor for the Ryerson Review of Journalism. However, she still finds time for her Storage Wars addiction. Follow her @ElleandBee

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