Last year, according to The New York Times, the city of Chicago recorded nearly 1,400 rapes. But none of these appeared in the FBI's annual federal crime report. That’s because the FBI doesn’t accept Chicago’s definition of what constitutes "rape." And it’s not just Chicago. The annual figures from cities and municipalities across the country are understated every year in the FBI's yearly Uniform Crime Report due to how the Bureau defines the crime.
It's a definition that was written more than 80 years ago. But after years of criticism from women's rights advocates the FBI is proposing a revision to the federal definition of rape. The change would lead to a significant increase in the number of sexual assault crimes reported to the FBI by law enforcement agencies across the country.
Carol Tracy is the executive director of the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia and she’s been leading the effort for a new, broader federal definition of rape for years.