Under current North Carolina law, the definition of “rape” is extremely narrow. It only includes those who engage in “vaginal intercourse” with another person by force and against the will of the other person and “employs or displays a dangerous or deadly weapon”.
This outdated definition fails to cover many types of sexual violence that should fall under the category of “rape”. It excludes rapes involving forced anal sex and/or oral sex, vaginal or anal fisting, rape with an object (even if serious injuries result), rapes of men and transgender people and other injurious and degrading sexual assaults.
As well, because the definition requires a deadly weapon, this excludes those who were intimidated or coerced in to engaging in sexual activity and those who were otherwise unable to give consent, such as by being unconscious or under the influence of alcohol.
In January 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Federal Bureau of Investigation expanded the definition of rape to “the 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”.
We ask the North Carolina General Assembly to follow in their footsteps and expand the legal definition of “rape”.