There is no 'Legitimate Rape,' Legally Speaking

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on August 20, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The comments on 'legitimate rape' made by Representative Todd Akin over the weekend have had a profound impact on the public.

Not only did he show poor understanding of science, especially for someone on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, he also failed to gauge public sentiment. The Republican Party has tried to distance themselves from his comments. They also encouraged him to end his race for Senate, reports Fox News.

The science behind his statement is clearly wrong, as noted by CNN. His idea of 'legitimate rape' also has nothing to do with current definitions of rape.

The law does not try to differentiate between 'legitimate rape' and whatever 'illegitimate rape' might be. The FBI definition is clear.

Rape is:

"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."

Any time the prosecution can prove that penetration occurred without consent it is rape. Even if the victim dressed 'provocatively.' Even if the victim was too drunk to properly consent.

Even if the victim was a man. Even if he claims he was raped by a woman.

The FBI definition of rape was updated earlier this year. It was intended to increase reporting of rape.

The results have been arguably positive for victims.

Under the old definition the children abused by Jerry Sandusky would not have been rape victims legally speaking. The more inclusive definition protects more rape victims without being unnecessarily broad.

It's hard to argue that sexual penetration without consent is acceptable.

Rep. Akin's comments about 'legitimate rape' have hurt his Senate race even if he does continue it. Luckily the law does not recognize his categories of rape and protects all victims.

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