The US continues to report decreased numbers of rape, but Feminist Majority Foundation President, Eleanor Smeal says the numbers are misleading. In a hearing before Senate Subcommittee on Crime, Smeal called for a national reform of rape reporting. Specifically, Smeal argued the current definition of rape is outdated, excluding many types of rape. The definition hasn’t been update since 1927. It does not include: forced anal or oral sex, vaginal or anal fisting, rape by an object, sexual assault, statutory rape, rape by men against men, any rape by a woman, “the use of drugs or alcohol to subdue a victim,” nor does it include rape to children younger than 12. Smeal argues underreporting of rape “threatens the safety and lives of millions of women. Without adequate reports, we cannot know the magnitude of the problem and therefore cannot adequately address it.” The national definition of rape must be updated.
“American Women Must Not be Fooled: Smeal Calls for National Reform in Rape Reporting and Investigating,” States News Service, 9/14/2010
Student investigators: Cara Peracchi Douglas, Sarah Schmidt, and Katie Whitney
Faculty evaluators: Steven D. Walker, professor of criminology at Fresno State