Skip main navigation

Can medical examination determine rape?

Dr Jagadeesh Narayanareddy, limitations of medical examination, determination of rape, rupture of hymen, two finger test.
9.7
Sexual violence, there’s a huge range. Would medical examination detect everything of this? There are many forms of sexual violence penetrative and non penetrative sexual violence. And in case of penetration, penetration could be with the penis that peno- vaginal, peno-anal or peno-oral. So penetration could also be with the use of objects and body parts. So if it is with the penis, then the medical examination may pick up the semen or its contents. But if the penetration is with the use of objects or body parts, this evidence is also not there. So there’s no semen when there is a penetration by use of body parts or by use of the object. So that is something.
71.4
In such situations, maybe medical examination may pick up if there is use of lubricant and in some situations with the penetration of by the use of objects or body parts, there may be injuries. Then in that case, you may pick up, but it’s not necessary that lubricant should be there in every case. It’s not necessary that injuries should be there, even though the penetration is by the use of objects or body parts. Sexual violence could be even non penetrative. Like kissing, licking, touching, fondling. So in such a situation, the medical evidence, what we normally look out is minimal. And kissing, you may pick up saliva.
112.2
If that is there in an immediate examination and you pick up that, but not necessarily in every case, there should be saliva. So again, the medical examination may not pick up in such non penetrative sexual violence violence.
132.3
Does the rupture of hymen occur in all cases of sexual violence?
138.8
Answer, not necessarily. Not necessary in every case you find rupture of hymen in a case of sexual violence. Hymen is a thin piece of mucous membrane which is covering the vaginal opening, and this tearing of the hymen may occur irrespective of the sexual act. Because we have enough scientific evidence to show that hymen may be torn in non sexual acts like riding, cycling, use of tampons. So all this may cause the rupture of hymen and hymen need not be torn, even though it’s a sexual act when the hymen is an elastic. Normally, it’s a thin mucous membrane, but as a variation, there may be certain situations where it is a little thicker or an elastic nature.
188.1
In such situations, even though the person is used to a sexual act, it may not be torn. Okay, can we reconstruct the sexual violence based on the tear at the hymen? Whether it is at 5 o’clock or 6 o’clock or 7 o’clock position?
206.2
Is it scientifically possible? I would definitely not agree on it. Position of hymen rupture cannot determine the deconstruction of positions of the victim or an accused. This is an impossible proposition because during a sexual act, they are not static individuals. There’s a lot of movement and hymen could be thrown in any position. So you can’t reconstruct, this was in a standing position, this was in a sitting position. Though some others tried to claim that, but there is no scientific backing on reconstruction based on the tear of the hymen. Does the two finger test have any role in the establishment of rape? What is this two finger test?
254.9
If somebody can pass two fingers into the vaginal introitus with ease, you commenting that that person is used to a sexual act and if it, you are not able to pass a single finger into the introitus so that giving a label that she is not used to a sexual act. This doesn’t have any scientific basis. Supreme Court has banned this two finger test in Lillu alias Rajesh versus State of Haryana case. And today, if anybody continues to do this, it would be contempt of the court. But unfortunately, still, we find in many situations this is being carried out.

In this video, Dr Jagadeesh Narayanareddy explains if medical examination can determine if rape has been committed. This lesson also deals with the myth surrounding the rupture of hymen during sexual assault.

This article is from the free online

Decoding Forensics for Legal Professionals

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education