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How We Think About Rape: Change at the FBI Is Only One Step in the Right Direction

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Written by Marianne Møllman for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the  original post.

On Tuesday last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Criminal Justice Advisory Policy Board voted in favor of changing its definition of rape. The current definition, established in 1929, covered only female victims and archaically—and imprecisely—referred to intercourse as "carnal knowledge," whereas the proposed change is gender-neutral, contains a relatively objective description of sex, and does not require physical force.

If the director of the FBI approves this change, it has the potential to change how we think about rape. At least in part. Another equally important part is the definition of rape in the American Law Institute's Model Penal Code which remains unchanged.

Here is why that matters.

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