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Consensual sex can lead injuries, rape: study

Consensual sex can cause as many vaginal injuries in women as rape, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Southern Denmark.

world Updated: Apr 01, 2012 17:39 IST

Consensual sex can cause as many vaginal injuries in women as rape, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark have carried out the study and found that vaginal injuries are as common among women who have had voluntary sex as among rape victims, Forensic Science International journal reported.

The study, in which the researchers compared rape victims with nursing students to come to their conclusion, casts doubt on commonly held view that vaginal injuries are evidence that intercourse has been forced.

"The findings are extremely interesting. The nursing students experience just as frequent vaginal injuries as rape victims, and so these injuries cannot be used for much more than to establish that intercourse has taken place," the Daily Mail quoted lead researcher Birgitte Schmidt Astrup.

She added that in cases of convictions based on evidence of vaginal injuries, there could now be discussions as to whether there have been miscarriages of justice.

In fact, the study looked at 110 nursing students in their early 20s and 39 rape victims from Centre for Rape Victims at Odense University Hospital, all who whom were examined less than 28 hours after sexual inercourse.

The results showed that vaginal injuries were found in 36 per cent of rape victims and in 34 per cent of the nursing students.

The nursing students' results were not affected by whether they had engaged in rough or gentle sex, or whether they had used condoms or sex toys, say the researchers.

The rape victims were more difficult to study in the same way, because they rarely remembered the details of the attacks and because they usually didn't keep track of the duration of the assault.

Dr Astrup told ScienceNordic: "Before I came up with some of these figures, the investigators were inclined to be take the case seriously when there were injuries and less seriously when there were no injuries."

However, she added that while the figures for injuries remained roughly the same for consensual sex as rape there could be an increased risk of sustaining multiple injuries during forced intercourse.