The FBI’s Definition of Rape: Older Than a Lot of Things

The FBI has been using this definition of rape for its Uniform Crime Report since 1929:

The carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.

That definition excludes victims of forced anal or oral sex, rape with an object, statutory rape and male rape. And that definition hasn’t been changed in 82 years.

Let’s put this in perspective. The last time that federal law enforcement addressed the way we define and track rapes:

What’s more, the definition of rape that the FBI still uses today is older than:

Just imagine how much has changed about Warren Buffet since he was an infant. Now just think how little has changed about the way our federal government defines rape.

The slideshow below shows what the world looked like back when the FBI started using the “forcible” rape definition. It’s high time for a change. Tell FBI Director Robert Mueller that rape is rape.

(For info on each photo, click “Show picture list”)

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All photos from Wikimedia Commons.


Annie is the Community Editor at The Nation and the former New Media Coordinator at Ms. magazine. She studied sociology and women's studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She's a big fan of birds, plants and things that are funny. Her animal totem is the bat.