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#340586 - 09/22/10 01:21 AM Feds undercount rape cases, victims advocates warn
Richard Gartner, PhD Offline
Past President

Registered: 09/20/00
Posts: 404
Loc: New York, NY, USA
This article appeared on last week. I am quoted in it as spokesman for MaleSurvivor. The article was reprinted in many venues all over the world, including a translation into Chinese in Hong Kong.

Feds undercount rape cases, victims advocates warn
By Emma Lacey-Bordeaux, CNN

* Victims advocates complain that rape is underreported in America
* Advocates cite what they argue is a narrow definition of rape in official statistics
* The issue is being addressed by a Senate Judiciary subcommittee Tuesday
* FBI's annual crime report showed forcible rapes declining by 2.6 percent in 2009


* Sexual Offenses
* Federal Bureau of Investigation

Washington (CNN) -- Are law enforcement officials producing misleading statistics on the prevalence of rape in America?

Yes, victims advocates warn.

The matter is set to take center stage in Washington on Tuesday when a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing addresses what has been described as a "chronic failure to report and investigate rape cases."

At issue is the FBI's 2009 annual crime report -- released Monday -- which shows the total number of forcible rapes in America declining 2.6 percent compared with 2008 and 6.6 percent compared with 2005. There were slightly over 88,000 forcible rapes last year, the FBI estimated.

Advocates question the rape statistics because, they note, the federal government is using a 1929 definition of the crime that excludes male victims, statutory rapes, and those committed without force.

Using such an antiquated, narrow definition is a harmful disservice to countless victims, according to Carol Tracy, executive director of the Philadelphia-based Women's Law Project.

Men account for roughly 10 percent of victims in the United States, said Scott Berkowitz, head of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

The adoption of broader rape statistics is critical to the recovery process for male victims, added Dr. Richard Gartner, a spokesman for the group Male Survivor.

Back in the 1970s, according to Berkowitz, the FBI tried to address the shortcomings of its crime reporting system by devising a survey --- the National Incident Based Reporting System -- featuring an "updated definition of rape [which] includes both male and female victims."

But this solution, Berkowitz said, "is expensive for local law enforcement agencies to utilize," and has not achieved the same degree of compliance as the Uniform Crime Report (UCR), which collects data from 17,000 jurisdictions and forms the basis for the statistics released earlier this week.

Greg Scarbro, who oversees the drafting of the UCR, told CNN he is aware of concerns relating to the definition for rape. Scarbro said he was not aware of any discussions in the past directed at changing the definition, but indicated that he is open to the notion of possible revisions.

"Our program stands ready to assess any of our definitions," he said.

Gartner told CNN that male rape victims face unique challenges. Among other things, men are socialized to view themselves as in charge of sexual activity, he said. Often, when confronted with sexual violence, men tend to assume they must be somehow responsible for what has happened to them.

Men also worry about what Gartner calls the myth that abuse victims become abusers themselves. In fact, he says, many male victims who eschew rape treatment for years will seek help grappling with that fear.

"A lot of men come to therapy when they have a baby because they are scared to be alone with the baby," Gartner said, adding that the vast majority of those men and boys who are abused will not become abusers themselves.

"Men who have been abused are very isolated," he added. The statistics help to "make people feel less alone."

Tracy, who established a women's shelter in Philadelphia, said she became aware about a decade ago of the marginalization of victims created by the more commonly accepted, narrow rape definition.

In the late 1990s, she noted, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a series of stories concerning the police department's handling of rape reports.

"Incidents would be reported to the police department, [where] the special victim's unit would review it and, instead of a thorough investigation ... refile it into a noncriminal category," Tracy said. "It was an unwritten rule to keep the crime [rate] down."

By reclassifying the complaints, Tracy said, the police also removed the burden of having to report the crime to the FBI.

In the tumult that followed the articles' publication, Philadelphia's police department launched an investigation into the reclassifications. Detectives examined every crime submitted to the special victims unit, including several hundred alleged rapes that ultimately went unreported.

Today, the Women's Law Project holds up the experience of working with the police department in Philadelphia as one of the most pressing reasons for a congressional investigation.

They write that other jurisdictions "are using similar tactics to sweep rape cases under the rug," Tracy warned.

"The point of the [FBI statistics is] to allow communities to know," she said. Sadly, with the current definition, too many communities "have been misled."

CNN's Alan Silverleib contributed to this report


#340588 - 09/22/10 02:04 AM Re: Feds undercount rape cases, victims advocates warn [Re: Richard Gartner, PhD]
prisonerID Offline
Greeter Emeritus

Registered: 02/17/08
Posts: 1247
Loc: Oklahoma
"The adoption of broader rape statistics is critical to the recovery process for male victims, added Dr. Richard Gartner, a spokesman for the group Male Survivor."

I don't know what could be added to this statement since it nails it on the head.

I also feel very, very minimalized in regards to the reporting practices by law enforcement in general.

Thanks for sharing this though.


Broad statements often miss their true mark.

#340618 - 09/22/10 02:06 PM Re: Feds undercount rape cases, victims advocates warn [Re: prisonerID]
catfish86 Offline

Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 832
Loc: Ohio
I recently read a christian counseling book used as a text in the 1980s. It defined rape or sa as a male forcing sex on a female victim. Was it any wonder the sheriff in my case did not even ask what my uncle may have done to me. Is this a legit problem? HELL YES!

God grant me
The Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

#340670 - 09/23/10 09:02 AM Re: Feds undercount rape cases, victims advocates warn [Re: catfish86]
BloggerT Offline

Registered: 11/15/08
Posts: 21
The FBI UCR handbook still has this as the definition (and so do some states as well for crime reporting)as well as some notes from it:

Forcible Rape

Definition: The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.

Carnal knowledge is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th ed. as “the act of a man having sexual bodily connections with a woman; sexual intercourse.” There is carnal knowledge if there is the slightest penetration of the sexual organ of the female (vagina) by the sexual organ of the male (penis).

Agencies must not classify statutory rape, incest, or other sex offenses, i.e. forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, forcible fondling, etc. as Forcible Rape

By definition, sexual attacks on males are excluded from the rape category and must be classified as assaults or other sex offenses depending on the nature of the crime and the extent of injury.


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