Atlanta sees 236% surge in rape cases: Why Georgia lets all women and some men go scot-free of rape charges?
ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Rapes in Atlanta have witnessed a spike in the past few years, according to city officials. It isn't because the instances of rape have increased significantly per se but rather, for the first time, rape cases where the victims don't identify as women are being included in the statistics. City crime records now include men and other people who were previously not counted as rape victims. Rapes in Atlanta have increased by 236% this year, if you go by the new statistics, with 37 reported this year compared to 11 in the same period in 2021.
Other types of violent crime, such as aggravated assault, are decreasing year over year, as reported by Insider Advantage. In the past, Atlanta police only counted rapes where the perpetrator was male and the victim was female because that is how Georgia law defines rape. Different rules apply if the victim is a man or if a woman sexually abuses another woman — in such cases the assailant cannot be charged with rape.
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The Atlanta Police Department modified how it reports rapes, adopting the FBI's gender-neutral definition and including male victims and others previously excluded from the data in its crime totals. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the city traditionally reported rapes as the number of times the assailant was a man, and the victim was a woman. According to Atlanta Police spokesperson Lisa Bender, the new definition has resulted in "a much higher number of cases being classified and reported as rape," as reported by Atlanta Journal.
There has been pressure on the Georgia government to try and change the terminology of what constitutes the offense because Atlanta's numbers are increasing and other states are embracing the FBI's definition of rape. The sponsor of a law that was introduced in the state senate, Senator Donzella James, is still optimistic that the bill will be passed the following year. Even though the statistics on men being raped countrywide are still unknown, proponents of the shift, including recent Morehouse College grad Kaj Gumbs, believe that the state should embrace a more gender-neutral definition of crime. He mentioned that all communities, including women, men, and LGBTQ, are protected under this law.
The charge will most likely be aggravated sodomy under the current law if the victim is a man. According to Russell Dean Covey, a law professor at Georgia State University, there are few substantial legal differences between that charge and a rape charge. However, the punishment for rape involves a potential life term without the chance of release. In contrast, the most severe sentence for aggravated sodomy is life without the possibility of parole, as reported by Atlanta Journal-Constitution.