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Victims' advocates endorse feds' expansion of rape definition

March 25, 2012

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) has lobbied for a new expanded federal definition of rape which removes the requirement that the act must involve physical force and that only females can be victims.

On Jan. 6, 2012, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced revision to the Uniform Crime Report's definition of rape, broadening the federal criteria and for the first time including male victims and removing the previous requirement that a sexual assault be physically forced.
Wording of the pre-existing federal definition, in place since 1929, included “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will,” and related only to men engaging in nonconsensual coitus with women.
The new definition is gender non-specific and covers any act of penetration by body part or object without the victim's consent.

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