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Forensic examination following rape: do skin colour and baseline injury matter?
  1. M Sommers1,
  2. J Everett1,
  3. D Tiller1,
  4. J Fargo2
  1. 1University of Pennsylvania, USA
  2. 2Utah State University, USA

    Abstract

    Background Rape is a global health risk for women. We are exploring the role of skin colour in the forensic examination by studying women after consensual sexual intercourse (CSI).

    Aims/Objectives/Purpose Determine whether injury prevalence varies by ethnicity and skin colour following CSI; Evaluate whether recent (≤24 h) CSI increases injury from baseline.

    Methods Cross-sectional design for phase I (n=120) and repeated measures design for phase II (n=281). In phase I, participants underwent a forensic exam following CSI, and in phase II participants had a baseline exam, followed by CSI and a follow-up exam.

    Results/Outcomes In phase I, 55% of the sample had ≥1 genital injury; percentages significantly differed for White (68%) and Black (43%) participants (p=0.02). While ethnicity was a significant predictor of injury occurrence (OR=3.15; RR=2.94), skin colour confounded the original relationship between ethnicity and injury. In phase II, we enrolled 146 women. The change in genital injury prevalence and frequency from exam 1 to 2 was modelled using logistic and negative binomial regression. Outcomes included specific injury type and observation of any injury during exam 2. Injury observed during examination 1 was the key predictor, adjusted for age, ethnicity, time since intercourse, duration and frequency of intercourse, degree of lubrication, number of lifetime partners, and skin colour.

    Significance/Contributions to the Field Results showed significant increases in redness as well as increased frequency of any external genital injury. We conclude that the rape forensic examination should be sensitive to skin colour, time since last intercourse, and baseline injury.

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