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Vox | Brock Turner was Convicted of Sexual Assault But Not “Rape.” What Does That Mean?

(06/09/2016) It's true that in many states, "rape" is a higher-level charge that carries more serious penalties than "sexual assault." But different states often have very different ways of describing the same basic crimes, said Jennifer Long, CEO of AEquitas, an organization that provides prosecutors with resources on violence against women.

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And whenever Turner's crime is reported to the FBI for data collection purposes, it will most likely be reported as a "rape," which the FBI defines 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."

"You can't tell much from the label" of various sex crimes statutes, Long said. What's important are the elements of the crime that are described in those statutes.

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All of this is not to diminish how a victim describes the experience that happened to them," Long said. "Whether or not the law says rape or some other term, victims need to call the crime what they want to call it and how they experienced it."

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