FBI Director Robert Mueller confirmed Wednesday that the agency would expand its definition of "rape," which has not been updated since 1929.


The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program currently defines rape as “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” Rape without force is not included.

"That definition was in some ways unworkable, certainly not applicable -- fully applicable -- to the types of crimes that it should cover," he told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "And as I think you're aware, the advisory committee for NCIC in the statistics, developing the statistics, approved the change to that definition. And my expectation is it will go into effect sometime this spring."

An October vote by the Advisory Policy Board’s UCR subcommittee recommended the board at-large change the definition of “rape” to “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.”

Activists said the new definition was needed because the current one does not recognize that men can be raped, women can rape women, inanimate objects can be used to commit rape or that rapes can occur while the victim is unconscious.

Many local law enforcement agencies use a much broader definition of “rape” than the FBI, causing thousands of sex crimes to go unreported in federal statistics.

According to a study released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on Wednesday, nearly one in five women have been sexually assaulted in their lifetimes.

With reporting by Stephen C. Webster

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