The FBI logo is seen outside the headquarters building in Washington, DC on July 5, 2016.
By Samantha Cooney
September 27, 2016

The number of rapes reported to law enforcement increased for the second straight year in 2015, according to statistics released by the FBI on Monday.

From 2014 to 2015, the number of reported rapes—using the FBI‘s legacy (as in, outdated) definition of rape, per its website, as “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will”—rose by 6.3%. There were 90,185 rapes reported in 2015, up from the 84,864 reported in 2014 and the 82,109 reported in 2013.

The FBI altered its definition of rape in 2013 to include, per its website, “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.”

These new numbers don’t necessarily mean that more people are being raped—they mean that more rapes are being reported to law enforcement. According to statistics from the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network, 2 out of 3 sexual assaults won’t be reported to police.

The last time the FBI statistics showed the number of reported rapes in the 90,000 range was in 2008, when 90,750 rapes were reported. Between 2008 and 2013, the statistics decreased, for the most part, hitting a low of 82,109 reported rapes in 2013. But since 2013, the numbers have been on the rise again.

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Under that new definition, 124,047 rapes were reported to law enforcement in 2015 — an increase from the 118,027 rapes reported under that definition in 2014 and the 113,695 reported in 2013. But because the FBI only has three years of data under its new definition of rape, it continues to use the legacy definition for analysis in its reports.


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