Stop Prisoner Rape Accuses FBI of Ignoring Male Rape Victims in New Crime Report

October 30, 2002

LOS ANGELES – The FBI’s practice of including only female rape victims in its annual Uniform Crime Report on violent crime is outdated and ignores the vast numbers of men who are raped and sexually brutalized in prison, the director of the nonprofit human rights group Stop Prisoner Rape said today.

Lara Stemple, executive director of the Los Angeles-based group, stated that the FBI’s approach to rape statistics in its newly released report trivializes the suffering of male rape victims. The group is calling on the FBI to revise its categories to include the rape of men as a violent crime.

In studies of male prison inmates, one man out of every ten reports that he was raped in prison. “The rape of men in prison is a serious human rights abuse that is dehumanizing and sometimes deadly. Victims have been left beaten and bloodied, they have suffered long-term psychological harm, and they have contracted HIV. When we look at violent crime as a nation, we cannot ignore these victims,” said Stemple.

“The FBI’s conscious disregard of male rape short-circuits attempts to address this issue on a policy level. If any other group in society was so blatantly excluded from crime statistics, we would hear an enormous outcry,” Stemple charged.

Unlike many state penal codes that use a gender-neutral approach to rape, the national crime report defines forcible rape as, “(t)he carnal knowledge of a female forcibly against her will.” The categories of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report were created in 1929, according to the report. The forcible rape of men is explicitly excluded from the annual analysis of the “violent crime” in the U.S., which draws from the reports of 17,000 law enforcement agencies throughout the country. The FBI’s report states that it “has traditionally defined rape victims as female.”

Stemple noted that the Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2002, legislation which is pending before Congress, will begin to uncover the extent of the problem by creating a commission to study sexual violence in prisons.

“Congress seems to understand that this is a serious problem,” Stemple said. "Now it's time for the FBI to come around. It's not 1929 any more, and Americans shouldn’t be given crime statistics compiled with 1929’s assumptions about rape and gender.”