State of the Art Forensic Examination of the Adult Sexual Assault Victim, (Video Cassette), running time 30 minutes presented by Randall L. Brown, M.D. Medical Director, Stop Rape Crisis Center and Jane Wood, Executive Director, Stop Rape Crisis Center
Rape is a very serious offence, probably the most heinous crime that can be committed against women. It is said that a charge of rape is easy to make, hard to prove and harder still to disprove. But it is also true that it is one of the crimes where the recent advances in diagnostic techniques can be the most helpful in proving it. A good forensic expert can go a long way in helping the investigating officer to catch the culprit by providing the relevant samples (to be sent to the laboratory). It is in this respect that the present video can be a boon for all forensic experts.
The video is divided into two parts: the first part gives a detailed step by step approach to examine a rape victim and the second part gives a brief summary of the first part.
Examination of the rape victim is the most important part of investigation as it provides the conclusive evidence of the occurrence of the crime and the identity of the culprit. So it should be carried out with utmost care as any lapse on the part of the examining physician can let the perpetrator of the crime go scot-free. This video has been prepared with the same view in mind and we must say that the authors have been pretty successful in their endeavor.
The video starts off by mentioning the first and foremost part of any examination i.e. the consent of the examinee. The importance of consent, and how it must be taken is shown in adequate detail.
A picture tells what a thousand words can't. This video proves this dictum. The details about the examination of a rape victim can never be understood perfectly by reading just books. Books can tell about the method of examination. They can describe but never demonstrate. It is this process of demonstration that is very important. How to take the swabs, how to take hair samples by combing or cutting, how to take seminal stains by wetting them using distilled water etc. are some of the things that can never be understood by reading the books only. These procedures have been shown in this video. The use of Wood's lamp for detecting dried stains has been described pretty adequately. As mentioned earlier, these findings can be read and photograph seen in the books but the procedures may perhaps never be understood from them properly. These are some of the things that prove the benefits of this video over conventional books.
How a sample is to be taken, how it is preserved, how it is transported to the laboratory are some of the other things that have been described in the video. The method of keeping the samples in envelopes was something that we personally was never comfortable with. This video has solved at least this problem.
In the end we would like to say that this video is a must for everyone involved with examination of an adult sexual assault victim, be he a physician, a clinical forensic practitioner, a forensic nurse or any other ancillary worker. The knowledge imparted in this video can go a long way in doing a proper examination of the rape victim which can help the investigating officer in apprehending the culprit and getting him punished. This is probably the most effective way of decreasing the menace of rape in our society.
-Puneet Setia and Avneesh Gupta
Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology,
Maulana Azad Medical College,
New Delhi, India
Dr. Puneet Setia is working as a resident doctor in the department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology at Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), New Delhi. His research interests include Forensic Radiology, especially the use of radiology in demonstrating coronary narrowing at the post-mortem examination. He is associated with Anil Aggrawal's Internet Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology as a writer and book reviewer. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Avneesh Gupta qualified as a forensic pathologist from India with honors and is now working as a fellow of forensic pathology in Wayne County, Detroit. He has to his credit a number of publications in leading journals around the world. His landmark thesis on "Cranial Cerebral Damage In Fatal Road Traffic Accidents With Special Reference to Circle Of Willis" can be accessed by clicking here. He is associated with Anil Aggrawal's Internet Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology as a journal associate, writer and book reviewer. He can be contacted at email@example.com. During his spare time, he enjoys meeting friends and traveling.
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