Originally identified as "carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will” since the late 1920s, rape’s definition will be changed so that any kind of nonconsensual penetration, no matter the gender of the attacker or victim, will constitute as rape, USA Today reported.
The Justice Department said the crime of rape will be defined as “"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," CNN reported.
"This long-awaited change to the definition of rape is a victory for women and men across the country whose suffering has gone unaccounted for over 80 years," said Vice President Joe Biden in a statement released Thursday, USA Today reported.
In September, a survey of major city police chiefs found that 80 percent didn’t believe the old definition was adequate, according to the review by Police Executive Research Forum, USA Today reported.
The expansion in definition is important since policymakers and lawmakers use crime statistics to allocate resources for prevention and victim assistance, the Associated Press reported. The change was approved by FBI Director Robert Mueller, which will be phased into the data-collection process over the next two to three years, USA Today reported.