Redefining Rape—Men Are Victims, Too
February 27, 2012
This past January, the United States Justice Department announced that the legal definition of rape will be changing—meaning that, for the first time, men can also be considered victims of rape. It seems incredible that it has taken until now for this change to be made.
The old definition, which had not been revised in over 80 years, did not consider men as possible victims of rape. The statement released by the Justice Department states the new definition as, “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” This definition exists independently of the gender of either the victim or of the attacker.
Often, the discussion of gender equality is centered on the idea of giving women the same rights as their male counterparts, but this change in definition recognizes that rape can be committed regardless of the gender of the victim and isn’t limited to vaginal penetration.
Rewriting the archaic definition of rape is a crucial step in providing justice for all victims of rape, including men, whose cases would have previously gone uncounted in rape statistics.