UPDATE: FBI to Cast Key Vote on “Forcible Rape” Today

After a massive grassroots feminist campaign launched by the Women’s Law Project, the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) and Ms. urging the FBI to update its 82-year-old, impossibly narrow definition of “forcible rape” in the Uniform Crime Report (UCR), a key vote is scheduled to be cast today at an FBI Advisory Policy Board meeting in Albuquerque, N.M.

The existing, archaic definition of rape as “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will” excludes many forms of rape, such as oral and anal assault. It has been long criticized for leading to vast underreporting of the crime. Since last spring, feminists have sent the Department of Justice and the FBI more than 140,000 emails via Change.org and the Feminist Majority Foundation calling for a more accurate definition.

In October, the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) Subcommittee of the CJIS voted unanimously to recommend a new, more inclusive definition of rape in the UCR. Today’s vote will determine the fate of the new definition. If passed, as it is expected to, it will be forwarded to FBI Director Robert Mueller for final approval.

If the resolution to adopt the new, more inclusive definition of rape (no longer limited to “forcible”) is ultimately approved, it will represent a major policy change that will dramatically impact the way rape is policed, reported and tracked nationwide. Such a change would be a huge victory for feminists as well as a testament to the power of grassroots online activism.

In the meantime, however, let’s remind the FBI that we’re still here, waiting to hear the outcome of today’s vote. Make sure FBI Director Robert Mueller knows that we’re paying attention and that this campaign isn’t over until he finally approves the definition. Sign the Change.org petition and share it with your networks today:

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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.