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Articles from Aids To Forensic Medicine And Toxicology

Death By Suffocation

Evidence Of Poisoning

Vegetable Irritants

Idiocy Imbecility Cretinism

Mental Unsoundness

Tobacco And Lobelia

Duration Of Pregnancy

Action Of Poisons; Classification Of Poisons

Cause Of Death In The Foetus

Viability Of Children


Rape is the carnal knowledge of a woman by force and against her will.
The resistance of the woman must be to the utmost of her power, but if
she yield through fear or duress it is still rape. The woman is a
competent witness, but her statements may be impugned on the ground of
her previous bad character, and evidence may be called to substantiate
the charge. The perpetrator must be above the age of fourteen years.

The definition of rape which we have given is not altogether
satisfactory. Take, for example, the case of a woman who goes to bed
expecting her husband to return at a certain hour. The lodger, let us
say, takes advantage of this fact, and, getting into bed, has connection
with her, she not resisting, assuming all the while that it is her
husband. This is rape, but it is not 'by force,' and it is not 'against
her will,' but it is 'without her consent,' as she has not been fully
informed as to all the circumstances of the case.

In all cases of rape in which there is no actual resistance or
objection, consent may be assumed. It is not essential that the woman
should state in so many words that she does not object. The force used
may be moral and not physical--e.g., threats, fear, horror, syncope.

By 48 and 49 Vict., c. 49, the carnal knowledge of a girl under thirteen
is technically rape. The consent of the girl makes no difference, since
she is not of an age to become a consenting party.

An attempt at carnal knowledge of a girl under thirteen is a
misdemeanour. Her consent makes no difference, and even the solicitation
of the act on the part of the child will not exonerate the accused.

Intercourse with a girl between thirteen and sixteen, even with her
consent, is a misdemeanour.

This Act is a favourite with the blackmailer. The child is sent out to
solicit, dressed like a woman, but appears in the witness-box in a much
more juvenile costume.

To constitute rape there must be penetration, but this may be of the
slightest. There may be a sufficient degree of penetration to constitute
rape without rupturing the hymen. Proof of actual emission is now

The subject of carnal knowledge (C.K.) or its attempt may be summed up
as follows:

Under thirteen C.K. Felony.
Under thirteen Attempt Misdemeanour.

Consent no defence.

From thirteen to sixteen C.K. Misdemeanour.
From thirteen to sixteen Attempt Misdemeanour.

Consent and even solicitation no defence.
Reasonable cause to believe the girl over sixteen is a good defence.
Charge must be brought within three months.

Over sixteen C.K. with consent Nil.

Subject to civil action for loss of girl's services by father.

Idiot or imbecile C.K. with violence Rape.
Idiot or imbecile C.K. without violence Misdemeanour.
Personation of husband Rape.

Tacit consent no defence, for obtained by fraud.

Married woman C.K. with consent Adultery.
Mother, sister, daughter, C.K. consent immaterial; Incest.
grand-daughter born in wedlock or not
Females Indecent assaults Misdemeanour.

It is a misdemeanour to give to a woman any drug so as to stupefy her,
and so enable any person to have unlawful connection with her.

False charges of rape are very often made. The motive may be to extort
blackmail, revenge, or mere delusion. On examining such cases bruises
are seldom found, but scratches which the woman has made on the front of
her body may be discovered, and the local injuries to the generative
organs are slight, if present at all.

Physical Signs.--In the adult the hymen may be ruptured, the
fourchette lacerated, and blood found on the parts, together with
scratches and other marks and signs of a struggle. In the child there
may be no hæmorrhage, but there will be indications of bruising on the
external organs, with probably considerable laceration of the hymen, the
laceration in some cases extending into the rectum. Severe hæmorrhage,
and even death, may follow the rape of a young child. The patient will
have difficulty in walking, and in passing water and fæces. After some
hours the parts are very tender and swollen, and a sticky
greenish-yellow discharge is present. These signs last longer in
children than in adults; but as a rule--in the adult, at least--all
signs of rape disappear in three or four days. Young and delicate
children may suffer from a vaginal discharge, with swelling of the
external genitals, simulating an attempt at rape. Infantile leucorrhoea
is common, and many innocent people have been exposed to danger from
false charges of rape on children, instituted as a means of levying
blackmail. A knowledge of these facts suggests the necessity of giving a
guarded opinion when children are brought for examination in suspected
cases. Pregnancy may follow rape.

Seminal stains render the clothing stiff and greyish-yellow in colour,
with translucent edges. On being moistened they give the characteristic
seminal odour.

Semen may be found on the linen of the woman and man, and will be
recognized under the microscope by the presence in it of spermatozoa,
minute filamentary bodies with a pear-shaped head; but it must not be
forgotten that the non-detection of spermatozoa is no proof of absence
of sexual intercourse, for these bodies are not always present in the
semen of even healthy adult young men. Spermatozoa must not be mistaken
for the Trichomonas vaginæ found in the vaginæ of some women. The
latter have cilia surrounding the head, which is globular.

Florence's Micro-Chemical Test for Spermatic Fluid.--If a drop of the
fluid obtained by wetting a supposed spermatic stain be mixed with a
drop of the following solution (KI, parts 1.65; pure iodine, 2.54;
distilled water, 30) in a watch-glass, brownish-red pointed crystals
resembling hæmin crystals are obtained.

Barberio's Test.--Mix a drop of the spermatic stain with a drop of a
saturated solution of picric acid, when needle-shaped yellow rhombic
crystals are formed.

Gonorrhoeal Stains.--A cover-glass preparation stained with methylene
blue reveals the gonococci lying in pairs within the leucocytes.

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