Tell the FBI: Rape is Rape!
  • Petitioned Robert Mueller

This petition was delivered to:

Director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation
Robert Mueller
U.S. Attorney General
Eric Holder

Tell the FBI: Rape is Rape!

    1. Petition by

      Ms. Magazine

Each year, the FBI fails to count hundreds of thousands of rapes in its Uniform Crime Report (UCR)—even missing many rapes that are reported to police. That’s because for over 80 years, the FBI has been using the same fundamentally flawed definition of “forcible” rape: “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will” to track rape statistics in the UCR.

This excludes rapes involving forced anal sex and/or oral sex, vaginal or anal fisting, rape with an object (even if serious injuries result), rapes of men and transgender people and other injurious and degrading sexual assaults. Also, because the definition includes the word “forcibly,” police departments often interpret the rule (against UCR guidelines) as leaving out rapes of women with physical or mental disabilities and those who were unconscious or under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

A recent Ms. investigation revealed that the archaic definition plays a key role in the vast underreporting of rape in the U.S.:

·      The FBI’s 2007 Uniform Crime Report listed 91,874 “forcible rapes”, but some estimates suggest the actual number may be 24 times higher.

·      Police departments go to great lengths to look good on the UCR, the FBI’s comprehensive national crime report by which all U.S. police departments are judged, and federal funding is determined. Often this means interpreting “forcible rape” even more narrowly than the FBI does when classifying sexual crimes.

·      Police departments across the country, notably Baltimore and Philadelphia, have been found to be juking the stats—coding legitimate rape cases as “unfounded” in order to make it appear that rape numbers have declined.

Without an accurate definition, we won't have accurate statistics about rape, and without accurate statistics, we will never have adequate funding for law enforcement to solve these crimes.  A change in the definition of rape would lead to better law enforcement response and could thus reduce dramatically the incidence of rape.

It’s high time for a change. For rape survivors, a modern definition of rape at the federal level would acknowledge, once and for all, that rape is rape—and that the stories and experiences of all rape survivors count.

Make sure that all rapes are counted. Sign this petition to tell FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Eric Holder to update the overly narrow, outdated “forcible rape” definition.


Recent signatures


    1. Victory! FBI Acknowledges That Rape Really Is Rape

      Happy New Year -- out with the old, and in with the new!
      More than 140,000 members signed a petition launched by Ms. Magazine demanding the FBI recognize that rape is rape -- and it worked. On Friday, the Obama administration approved a...

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

      Share this petition on Facebook and Twitter to give it one final push before the vote this afternoon.

    3. Congresswoman Roybal-Allard Tells the FBI "Rape is Rape"

      This week a committee of the FBI will convene to decide whether or not to update the bureau's 80 year-old definition of rape. Congresswoman Roybal-Allard asks them to do so without delay.

    4. Reached 100,000 signatures
    5. <i>Ms. Magazine </i> tells FBI: Rape is Rape

      When it comes to defining rape, the FBI has a shockingly narrow stance on the subject. According to the Uniform Crime Report (the annual report of crime statistics compiled by the FBI) some of the acts not considered rape by the FBI include: forced...

    6. Reached 2,500 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Nicholas Parrott SPRINGFIELD, MO
      • almost 3 years ago

      The new definition raises a question. What about forced consent? Like if a woman says yes simply because the man has a knife to her throat. Hopefully the government is past giving in to loopholes in definitions, but if not, I'm afraid that, for the sake of their laziness, this loophole might be taken advantage of. I might be wrong of course, but still...

      However, I'm vigorously glad that the definition did get changed. Hopefully this will cut down the number of women who experience this. For those who have experienced it, I give sympathy and apologize for the overall grotesqueness of my gender.

      • almost 3 years ago

      This is disgusting, and pathetic...I cannot believe this is an issue in this day and age.

    • Lisa Riggiola POMPTON LAKES, NJ
      • almost 3 years ago

      We are in the 21st century and it is time for all rape victims to matter!

    • Tanya Scambler VISALIA, CA
      • almost 3 years ago

      Because, like the Title says, RAPE IS RAPE!

    • Lynda Albritton BARTLESVILLE, OK
      • almost 3 years ago

      The definition needs to include birth rape as well. It's real, it happens, and it shouldn't be ignored.


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