Criminal Law

Forcible Rape

  • Rape by Force
  • Attempts to Commit Forcible Rape

Reporting agencies must classify one offense for each female raped or upon whom an assault to rape or attempt to rape has been made. Reporting agencies must classify rapes or attempts accomplished by force or threat of force as forcible regardless of the age of the female victim

Forcible Rape—Rape by Force

Definition: The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.

Carnal knowledge is defined by Black's Law Dictionary, 6th ed. as "the act of a man having sexual bodily connections with a woman; sexual intercourse." There is carnal knowledge if there is the slightest penetration of the sexual organ of the female (vagina) by the sexual organ of the male (penis).

"Against her will" includes instances in which the victim is incapable of giving consent because of her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity (or because of her youth). The ability of the victim to give consent must be a professional determination by the law enforcement agency. The age of the victim, of course, plays a critical role in this determination. Individuals do not mature mentally at the same rate. For example, no 4-year-old is capable of consenting, whereas victims aged 10 or 12 may need to be assessed within the specific circumstances regarding the giving of their consent.

The following scenarios illustrate incidents known to law enforcement that reporting agencies must classify as Rape by Force (2a):

  1. Law enforcement received a complaint from a victim who claimed that when she was leaving work late one night, she was attacked in the company parking lot by an unidentified male and forcibly raped. The offender was not apprehended.
  2. Two men lured a woman to their motel room with the promise of discussing a job opportunity. They threatened her with a knife and both forcibly raped her. On complaint by the woman, the police arrested both men.
  3. Three girls were attacked, assaulted, and raped by four boys. Each boy raped each of the girls. No arrests were made.

Forcible Rape—Attempts to Commit Forcible Rape

Assaults or attempts to forcibly rape are classified as Attempts to Commit Forcible Rape (2b).

The following scenarios illustrate incidents known to law enforcement that reporting agencies must classify as Attempts to Commit Forcible Rape (2b):

  1. A man attacked a woman on the street, knocked her down, and attempted to rape her. A pedestrian frightened the man away before he could complete the attack.
  2. At a local bar, a man slipped gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), a date rape drug, into a woman's drink. However, the man was unable to lure the woman away from her friends. Investigators concluded that the man intended to have intercourse with the woman and arrested him.

Agencies must not classify statutory rape, incest, or other sex offenses, i.e. forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, forcible fondling, etc. as Forcible Rape (2a or 2b). The UCR Program applies the following definitions:

  • Statutory rape-nonforcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
  • Incest-nonforcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.

However, if the female victim associated with either offense, statutory rape or incest, is forced against her will to engage in sexual intercourse, the incident must be classified as Rape by Force (2a).

The following scenarios illustrate incidents known to law enforcement that reporting agencies must not classify as Forcible Rape:

  1. A 15-year-old male had consensual sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old female. The age of consent in the state is 16.
  2. At a family reunion, a woman had sexual intercourse with her nephew, in violation of the state's incest laws. No force or weapon was involved.
  3. A man forcibly sodomized his male cousin. The cousin was hospitalized with internal injuries.

NOTE: By definition, sexual attacks on males are excluded from the rape category and must be classified as assaults or other sex offenses depending on the nature of the crime and the extent of injury.