The Injury Profile of the Sexually Assaulted Female




Rotolo, Suzanne L.

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Rape is a serious, violent crime that is under-reported across the United States. Multiple factors affect the choice to report, as well as the legal processes that ensue when a rape is reported. Prior to the development of the formal Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) role in 1992, there were reports of poor documentation of the physical and genital injuries. The significance of this study is first to seek to improve care for women who have been sexually assaulted. The secondary significance is to seek to reduce the likelihood of court errors through improving the testimony by experts about the injuries that women may or may not have after being sexually assaulted. The purpose of this study was to describe the profile of injuries sustained by females who have been raped and subsequently examined by a SANE. In addition, the injury patterns of women reporting consensual and nonconsensual intercourse were compared. Genital injuries were documented using a three-part examination process (Direct visualization, use of toluidine \blue dye, and with magnification). This study was a logical extension of the research performed to date, and seeks to fill some of the methodological gaps in extant findings. The genital profile of the woman who was sexually assaulted is also variable, with no definitive pattern. With direct visualization, over 70% of the women did not have genital injuries. While genital injuries are present in approximately 30% of the women after a sexual assault, on direct visualization, injuries are not a determining factor that a sexual assault occurred.



Sexual assault, Rape, Genital injury, Toluidine blue dye, Colposcope, Direct visualization