Victimology of alleged rape cases: A three year institution based cross-sectional study

Author Details : Ambika Prasad Patra, Kusa Kumar Shaha, Anand P Rayamane, Sachidananda Mohanty

Volume : 2, Issue : 4, Year : 2015

Article Page : 203-213

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Aim of study: The demographics and characteristics of sexual assaultare changing. Hence, the aim of the study is to:
a.       To describe victim, assault characteristics for women alleging rapeaccording to the type of penal sections egistered by the police.
b.        To record the time between the last sexual assault and the examination, and to find out the reasons of delayed reporting of rape cases.
c.        To provide descriptive data on the medico-legal findings.
d.        And, to do a comparative review of the existing literatures.

Material and method: This study is based on 244 numbers of examined rape victims reported to the Department of Forensic Medicine& Toxicology during the period from January 2010 up to December 2013. Victims were referred from investigating police authorities for evidentiary examination. Study included all cases registered under Section 376 Indian penal code (punishment for rape) by the police, with or without sections of other offences e.g. gang rape, rape followed by murder, abduction and rape, sexual intercourse made deceivingly or by an impostor; and rest all types of medico-legal cases were excluded. The prospective data regarding victim’s socio-demographic variables, detailed history of the alleged act, her relationship with the alleged accused person, date, time, place of occurrence of the crime,frequency of occurrence, reasons for delayed reporting, information regarding bathing, changing of clothing after the act, and use of any barrier methods by assailantswere collected fromthe rape victims, accompying family attendents, from the police, physical examination findings, laboratory investigation findings, and from any other available documents.
Results: Most commonly alleged charge was ‘abduction and rape’ (46%), and least reported ones were gang rape, rape and murder (1%), and only ‘rape’ alleged in 8% cases. About 89% of the alleging women were 11-30 years old, with a median of 23.7 years, and mean 25 years; 57% were unmarried, 40% were educated up to the junior college level, and 55% were above the poverty line. A majority of cases (75%) were from rural and semi-urban areas. In 97% cases, the alleging woman knew the alleged accused person. Most commonly, boyfriends, friends, or the acquaintances were the culprits (70%). The fatal forms of sexual assault like gang rape, rape and murder usually done by the unknown assailants. The crime in 82% cases had occurred in Indoors. Out of which 60% cases had allegedly occurred at either victim’s home, or the alleged accused person’s home or office. Majority (47%) of cases reported during winter season, and the least (16%) in rainy season. A majority (60%) of the cases reported after 7 days of the alleged incident. The latency of reporting of cases varied from 24 hours to 2.5 months with a median of 27 days. Physical force for sexual intercourse was used in 46% of cases, but physical injuries found in 2-3% of cases only (extra-genital injuries in 2% and genital injuries in 3% of cases). The risk factor for the detection of genital injury is the presence of extra-genital injury [Odds Ratio (OR) 1.2, 95% Confidence Interval (CI)]; and, the risk factors for the presence of genital injuries in the absence of extra-genital injuries are, age below 12 years (OR 3.3, 95% CI) and beyond 38 years (OR 1.2, 95% CI). In 2%, cases seminal stain and foreign pubic hairs retrieved from the body of the victim. The victim women had witnessed use of condom by the alleged offender in 18% of cases.

Conclusion: Though all age groups are prone for rape, unmarried women in their first three decades are more vulnerable. A known victim-offender relationship usually associated with the less physical or genital injuries, and less fatality. While evaluating rape cases possibility of false allegations of rape should not be ignored. Presence of physical or genital injuries is neither predictive nor essential for conviction. Medical examiners need to be circumspect while recording non-medical variables for a successful prosecution.

Keywords: Rape; Gang rape; Abduction; Sexual assault; Profile; Victims; Section 376 IPC; India

How to cite : Patra A P, Shaha K K, Rayamane A P, Mohanty S, Victimology of alleged rape cases: A three year institution based cross-sectional study. Indian J Forensic Community Med 2015;2(4):203-213

Copyright © 2015 by author(s) and Indian J Forensic Community Med. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (

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