January 2012

FBI Changes its Definition of Rape

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After decades of lobbying, and nearly a century of stasis, the FBI announced this month that it will change the way it counts rape. For the first time, rapes of men and statutory rape will be included in the official statistics that the FBI collects for the annual Uniform Crime Reports (UCR).

The FBI's change does not affect any criminal laws; it adjusts the definition only for statistical purposes, so that crimes under existing state laws will now be acknowledged, and counted by, the federal government. Up to now, only the "carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will" has been counted in UCR stats. In addition to counting crimes against men, the new definition will include rapes in which the attacker uses threats of violence, as well as all rapes in which the victim is a child and thus unable to consent.

In an interview with NPR, Scott Berkowitz, RAINN's president and founder, said, "The FBI's new definition of rape comes much closer to reflecting the reality of the crime. It happens to men and women, young and old, but in every case, it's an incredibly violent crime and we owe it to victims to acknowledge and count every one, as the FBI is now going to do."

"Rape is a devastating crime and we can't solve it unless we know the full extent of it," said Vice President Joe Biden. "This long-awaited change to the definition of rape is a victory for women and men across the country whose suffering has gone unaccounted for over 80 years."

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Have you added a RAINN web banner to your blog?
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Help us reach more people by posting a RAINN banner on your website or blog. You can help educate your friends and followers, and let them know about the help that is available through the National Sexual Assault Hotline.

It Can Happen to Anyone
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I Knew Him, a video by Dr. Broderick Fox of Occidental College, has a surprising twist — and turns assumptions about sexual assault on their head. Check it out on RAINN's YouTube channel.

Private Practice
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Be sure to tune in to ABC's Private Practice on February 2 for a very important episode that deals with sexual assault in the military. Members of the military community who are affected by sexual assault can get live, one-on-one help, 24/7, from anywhere in the world, through the DoD Safe Helpline. RAINN operates Safe Helpline through a contract with the Department of Defense.

Penn State University Events White Out Child Abuse
white out child abuse

On January 21, Penn State alumni across the US held White Out Child Abuse events to raise funds and awareness to fight childhood sexual abuse. From New York to Ohio to California, alums came together as one national community to provide support for victims and their families, and to help RAINN.

"Our broomball and scavenger hunt fundraiser events were a lot of fun and great successes," said David Fites, president of the Metro Washington D.C. chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association. "We wanted to host some positive events that would let people have fun while raising money for a great cause. And we were very encouraged to see both new and familiar faces— PSU alum who were excited to come out in support of RAINN. We are proud to be able to support a great charity with so many great people."

Learn about the #ProudPSUforRAINN campaign here.


 RAINN in the News

npr logo "The FBI's new definition of rape comes much closer to reflecting the reality of the crime. It happens to men and women, young and old, but in every case, it's an incredibly violent crime and we owe it to victims to acknowledge and count every one, as the FBI is now going to do." —RAINN's president, Scott Berkowitz, on NPR.

new york times logo "I tried to open the car door, but he had rigged the lock. I had no idea it was going to be a sexual assault."
—RAINN Speakers Bureau member Keith Smith in the New York Times.

reuters "We haven't seen anything like this before in terms of response on the hotlines." —Hotline director Jennifer Marsh discusses the 54% increase in Online Hotline usage during the wake of the Penn State tragedy with Reuters.

ap logo "The theory of the statutes of limitation [is that] they were necessary because witnesses memories fade." —Scott Berkowitz, founder and president of RAINN, discussing the trend of lengthening the statute of limitations for rape with the Associated Press.


Lawmakers Making a Difference
Congressman Bob Brady
Bob Brady (D-PA)

"RAINN is a valued national resource which supports and empowers victims of sexual and domestic violence. I applaud its work and I am proud to be a co-sponsor of the SAFER Act (H.R. 1523 — endorsed by RAINN). I look forward to a continued partnership with RAINN in our fight to keep all safe from sexual violence and raising awareness about this critical issue."
— Congressman Bob Brady (D-PA)

Rep Jo Ann Emerson
Rep. Jo Ann Emerson

"Too often in cases of sexual assault the victims feel as though they have no place to go. The safe haven that RAINN has set up through the 24/7 National Sexual Assault Hotline is an invaluable resource. In addition to the hotline, RAINN works to prevent individuals from becoming victims in the first place. Through education and advocacy they are reducing the incidence of sexual assault and providing safe havens for victims nationwide. I applaud them for their good work."
— Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO)

More News
RAINN Special Edition E-Cards


Show your loved ones how much you care this Valentine's Day by sending them a RAINN special edition e-card. Each e-card is just $2.50, and all proceeds will directly benefit survivors of sexual violence.

The e-cards are perfect for your Valentine, your best friend, and anyone else who matters to you. You can choose from five unique versions and personalize a special message for each recipient.

Choose your Valentine's Day e-card now!

Spotlight on the Speakers Bureau: Tish Rothenbach
Tish Rothenbach

“I am humbled to be a small part of a huge movement that helps those abused find a place of comfort and healing. Serving on the speaker's bureau for RAINN, I am blessed by opportunities to educate, advocate and encourage.”

Learn more about becoming a member of RAINN's Speakers Bureau

Volunteer Spotlight: Marie Hansen, Online Hotline Volunteer
Marie Hansen

“It is amazing that there is a place for people to go online to talk about their feelings or what happened to them. Sexual assault, incest, and abuse are not easy things to talk about out loud. I think the Online Hotline is an important tool to help people who are scared to reach out for help gain some footing and a voice.”

Learn more about volunteering for RAINN

Did you know?

One in six women and one in 19 men have experienced stalking during their lifetime "in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed," according to the Centers for Disease Control. "Repeatedly receiving unwanted telephone calls, voice, or text messages was the most commonly experienced stalking tactic," says CDC. January is National Stalking Awareness Month.

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TwitterFollow @RAINN01 on Twitter for the latest RAINN news, information about current issues, and ways to get involved in the fight against sexual violence.
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