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Report on Military's Growing Number of Sexual Assaults Draws Presidential Rebuke

Time magazine Washington deputy bureau chief Mark Thompson on Tuesday’s episode of PBS Newshour, talking about an annual Pentagon study on sexual assault in the United States military released on the same day:

This is a longstanding problem. I was on this show 16 years ago talking about it.

That line really stuck with me, although the whole thing isn’t quite as gloomy as those two sentences might imply; Thompson feels we may have reached a turning point with the culture of silence.

And you gotta love a guy who replies to the customary closing of “thanks a lot for being with us” with “you bet.”

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FBI seeks to update definition of rape

Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun:

The FBI is moving to change the federal definition of rape for the first time in 80 years, which authorities and women’s advocacy groups hope will lead to improved tracking of the crime and an attitude shift among investigators.

Critics have maintained that the current definition is archaic, too narrow and leaves crimes uncounted in police statistics, resulting in fewer resources for victims and law enforcement.

Since 1927, rape has been defined as forcible male penile penetration of a female — which excludes cases involving oral and anal penetration, where the victims were drugged or under the influence of alcohol, and male victims.

Usually when we talk about redefining rape it’s because someone is trying to be an asshole, but this appears to be a positive step toward being a civilized society.