FBI includes men into the definition of rape

Published: Jan. 6, 2012 at 4:56 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2012 at 5:42 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The FBI has changed its definition of rape which can affect how it reports the crime in the future. This comes after Penn State's Assistant Football Coach, Jerry Sandusky, was accused of sex crimes against young boys.

A Centers for Disease Control report says one in five women has been raped in their lifetime. Even though only one in 71 men have been raped, people at Safe Harbor say those victims need to be included.

"Yes, I think it's a great," said Safe Harbor Executive Director Kathleen Demro. "It's a victory for law enforcement, advocates, and really a victory for the whole community."

The director of the sexual assault and abuse center says the FBI can only count reported crimes in its annual report. Since males have not been included in this definition, that finding may not be 100% complete.

"So now we have the FBI saying this is what happened to you," Demro added. "This is rape, and I think this is a big step forward for our community."

We could also see reported cases of sexual assaults against men increase in the next several years. According to the CDC, one in four women has become victims of violence from an intimate partner, while one in seven men has experienced severe physical violence from their partners.

The issue that concerns most advocates is that nearly a third of male victims were raped when they were ten years old or younger. That's why many activists believe the young boys involved in the Sandusky child abuse case may have been a springboard for this change.

"Obviously it's terrible what happened to them," Demro noted. "It's wonderful that we now have a national platform for talking about what males have experienced often at a very young age."

Many abuse cases start at childhood. Demro, along with many other's hope this new change will encourage other victims to seek help.

Safe Harbor helps men, women, and children. You can contact the 24-hour, confidential hotline at (804) 287-7877.