In a belated stroke of political expediency, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and company have replaced the “forcible rape” term in their still-problematic “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” with “rape” so that it covers all forms of it. Maybe the FBI should consider following suit. 

The top law enforcement agency in the land uses this term in its Uniform Crime Report (UCR) to tally up how many violent (as opposed to, say, statutory) rapes have occurred nationwide. But according to this FBI FAQ on the matter, the UCR excludes male victims. (And I swear on a stack of various religious texts that the only editing I’ve done here is deleting broken links):

For UCR reporting purposes, can a male be raped?

No. The UCR Program defines forcible rape as “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” In addition, “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. 

Umm. So, yeah. By definition, males can’t be “raped,” just “assaulted.” Because they’re too, er, umm, vagina-less to be forced into an overtly violent sexual act?

The FAQ goes on to point out that lesser known data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) includes male victims. But even the NIBRS doesn’t count these men unless a woman is involved: 

In the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), a sexual assault on a male by a female could be classified as a forcible rape, depending on the nature of the attack and the extent of the injury. … In the NIBRS, at least one offender must be of a different sex than the victim for the event to be classified as a forcible rape. For example, a female can rape a male, or in the case of multiple offenders, a female and male can rape a male. However, a male cannot rape another male, or in the case of multiple offenders, two males cannot rape a male.

When homophobia and sexism shape how rapes are counted, is there any wonder why there’s so much silence around males who have been violated this way?