BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The FBI is now trying to give rape victims a bigger voice and make sure their cases don’t fall through the cracks.

Weijia Jiang explains the important changes in the works.

For years critics have blasted how the FBI constitutes a rape.

“I would consider rape anything that is forced upon someone sexually that they don’t want to participate in,” said Diane Goodman in Baltimore.

But since 1927, it’s been defined as forcible male penile penetration of a female, excluding cases involving oral or anal penetration, where victims were drugged or under the influence of alcohol, and male victims.

Now, the government is moving to revise the wording, meeting the demands of advocates.

“Not only is it time, it also will allow us to protect victims, encourage reporting,” said Marci VanDeMark of Baltimore County Social Services. “This is an incredibly underreported offense.”

Just last year, Baltimore Police Commissioner Fred Bealefeld overhauled the way his department investigates sex crimes following an investigation by WJZ’s media partner, “The Baltimore Sun.” He even testified at a hearing on Capitol Hill.

“Women are often ashamed and afraid to confront their attackers,” Bealefeld said. “We need and must do everything in our power to make ensure victims of sexual assault feel safe reporting incidents to police.”

Before the change, the city was No. 1 in the nation in unfounded rape reports, meaning police did not recognize an incident as rape. Over a 19-year period, there was a staggering 80 percent drop in rapes.

Investigators reclassified those cases from unfounded to founded, and beefed up a specialized Sex Offense Unit.

Since then, the number of reported rapes has jumped by nearly 70 percent– what experts say will happen across the country if rape is redefined.

A federal committee meeting about a revision is scheduled for Oct. 18 in Baltimore City. Any changes will then be submitted to the director of the FBI for approval.

The FBI reports there were nearly 85,000 cases of sexual assault last year. That’s a five percent decrease from 2009.

Comments (4)
  1. I said it says:

    The terminonly has been stupid since forever. Are there any woman giving their input about these changes. I didn’t say the over talked women’s groups..any grounded, women who can ad to the logical discussion.

    Too many men involved in the discussion and not enough logical solutions.

  2. j says:

    The FBI and DEA fabricate evidence, steal from suspects and use murder to close those bad cases.
    How is it that 12 of the 9/11 terrorists could live for 2 weeks just 2 miles from NSA head quarters in Maryland.
    This after several of them had taken flight simulator lessons on Jumbo jet trainers and several of them where on State department terror watch lists.
    There is evidence that employees from DoD, CIA and DOJ accepted bribes from Al Quida.
    If DoJ and DoD employees where more concerned with doing their jobs than enriching themselves by stealing from suspects and taking bribes, then there might have been more a chance that 9/11 had never happened.

  3. Zac says:

    J you are clearly easily influenced. I am tired of people complaining about America. If you don’t like it here please feel free to leave. I promise no one will notice.

    1. Jeff says:

      Questioning government is NOT betrayal of country. Get that out of your head.

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