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Sexual health, drug and alcohol treatment, and FBI rape statistics

January 7, 2012
by Douglas Braun-Harvey
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It turns out there is a significant discrepancy between local and national criminal definitions of what constitutes "Forcible Rape" and the FBI crime statistic definition of rape.

Since 1927 (yes that is not a typo) the FBI's Uniform Crime Report (UCR) Summary Reporting System (SRS) has defined forcible rape as "the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will". This meant forcing penile/vaginal penetration (yes, that is what "Carnal knowledge of a female" means) against the will of a female partner was the only form of rape tabulated by the FBI yearly crime report. This has resulted in decades of lower national rape statistics.

Why? Because if the rape was any sexual act other than penile/vaginal intercourse, no matter how violent and non-consensual, until now it was not included in FBI rape statistics. Although expanded criminal definitions of rape and definitions for statistical tabulation have been increasingly congruent in other places, the FBI (the foremost source of national crime information on rape and source for determining federal grants and Congressional healthcare policy initiatives) was for a period of 85 years increasingly inaccurately tabulating the prevalence of rape.

Thus, a person could be imprisoned by the state or Federal courts for non-consensually forcing an object into the anus of a man and the FBI not tabularize this criminal conviction as rape.

The new FBI statistical definition is: "The 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" (downloaded January 7, 2012 at http://blogs.usdoj.gov/blog/archives/author/trusso/)

My sexual health training with drug and alcohol treatment professionals promotes "consent" as the most basic sexual health boundary for every person in recovery. The 2012 FBI Uniform Crime Report definition now recognizes rape when a victim is incapacitated and unable to consent to sex because of their ingestion of drugs or alcohol. It is now even more essential for drug and alcohol treatment professionals to integrate forcible rape linked with substance use as basic elements of a comprehensive drug and alcohol assessment and treatment. How many male clients (and most likely a smaller number of women) in our nations drug and alcohol treatment programs have forcibly raped an incapacitated man or women after the victim ingested drugs or alcohol?

As I train drug and alcohol treatment professionals around the country, I am told about the low confidence, lack of training, and at times unwillingness of treatment programs to discuss forced non-consensual sex (rape) unless it is the story of the victim. The perpetrators' story often remains unseen.

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Douglas Braun-Harvey

Sexual health author, trainer and psychotherapist

Douglas Braun-Harvey

www.dbhnow.com

Douglas Braun-Harvey, MFT, CGP, is a psychotherapist and certified sex therapist based on San...