Violent crime was down in the first half of 2013, according to the latest crime statistics from the FBI. Murder dropped by 6.9 percent from the year prior, aggravated assault declined by 6.6 percent, robbery fell by 1.8, and forcible rape was down by 10.6 percent.
There is however one big asterisk to the report. In 2012, the FBI changed its definition of rape, dropped the term “forcible” and expanded the meaning to “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” The updated definition includes male victims and those who are subdued without threats or force.
Under this new definition – adopted in 2013 – the number of rapes increased, from 13,242 in the first half of 2012 to 14,400 in 2013. The transitional year makes it difficult to track the trend over time, but it starts to give better insight into the whole picture of rape in America, establishing a baseline to move forward from.
Elsewhere in Slate: Can Affirmative Consent Standards Fix the Problem of Alcohol and Rape?