(12/18/2015) Rape is Rape, Isn’t It?

Today, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program — the most widely cited source for national crime statistics — includes male victims, as well as female victims who did not actively try to fend off their attackers…

The change has had a profound effect, showing that rape in America is a far more wide-ranging problem than the agency previously reported. In 2012, the last year before the new definition went into effect, the FBI estimated that 85,141 rapes occurred in the U.S. In 2014, the most recent year available, the number jumped to 116,645 rapes — a 37 percent difference.

The new figures don’t mean that legions of rapists have suddenly run amok. In fact, using the old definition, rapes have decreased slightly. Nor do the new numbers capture all rapes — surveys show only about one in three sexual assaults is reported to police. Instead, the numbers show that the FBI has recognized a new class of victims — people whose sexual assaults were previously unreported, or were hidden in other offense categories…

Fromson was working for the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Women’s Law Project in 1998 when a doctorate student at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania named Shannon Schieber, 23, was raped and killed in her small studio apartment in that city’s downtown. Her murder set off a frantic search for the attacker. By the time Troy Graves was captured four years later, he had been linked to nearly a dozen other attacks on women. He was dubbed the Center City rapist.

During the investigation, it emerged that Graves had raped several women before killing Schieber. But Philadelphia police officers had decided two of the women’s claims were not worth investigating. They tossed the cases aside — and with them, a chance of stopping Graves…

Schieber’s rape and murder came at the same time as an investigation by The Philadelphia Inquirer, which found that the sex crimes unit of the Philadelphia police department had buried thousands of sexual assault cases over the decades — dismissing women’s complaints as groundless with little or no investigation…

And Fromson says that she has seen improvements in how police handle rape cases.

Ultimately, the police determined that more than 1,800 crimes had been incorrectly dismissed, including 681 rapes. Thirty-three men connected to the re-opened cases were convicted, the Inquirer reported…

In December 2011, more than 10 years after the women’s organizations sent their letter asking the agency to change the definition of rape, former FBI Director Robert Mueller made it official…

One thought on “Thinking of you, Shannon Schieber

  1. Rape of women has so many layers, and misogny. In ‘Blazing Saddles’, a man was him listing ‘rape’ twice. He asked why he said that twice? He said that he likes it! I have many examples, like at the college that sanctioned rape. Come on people! This stuff matters,

    Liked by 1 person

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