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liquid has evaporated. The spermatozoa (Fig. 24) present a very characteristic appearance when viewed with the microscope, though resembling somewhat the flagellate infusoria, for which they were mistaken when first discovered. A spermatozoon consists of an ovoidal head, which tapers into a filamentary appendage or tail, about ten times as long as the head, and which, when the spermatozoon is alive, vibrates with astonishing rapidity. The spermatozoa vary in number and size, measuring on an average between theth and the th of an inch. The movements of the spermatozoa are arrested by water and cold, retarded by acids, and stimulated by alkalies. The spermatozoa retain individual life long after the death of the body; they may be seen moving about so long as from eighty to one hundred hours after death.1 Indeed, if the vaginal mucus be examined even a week after sexual intercourse, the spermatozoa may be sometimes found still living and quite active. In the dried condition the spermatozoa may be identified years after death.
Spermatozoa are found in the semen of man from the age of puberty to a very advanced period of life-ninety years and upward. Spermatozoa are often absent, however, in the semen, for example, in that of young men addicted to excessive venery or suffering from debilitating diseases. The absence of spermatozoa from stains cannot, then, be regarded as proof that such stains are not seminal in origin. In old seminal stains, as the spermatozoa are frequently found in fragments, the medical examiner should be extremely cautious under such circumstances in not mistaking for them the fibres of organic bodies that might accidentally be present. The only living animalcule that might be mistaken for a spermatozoon is the trichomonas vagi
1 Taylor: op. cit., p. 669.
nalis (Fig. 25) occasionally found in the vaginal mucus of uncleanly females. The trichomonas vaginalis is, however, readily distinguished from a spermatozoon, in that its head is much larger, granular, and armed with a row of from four to six cilia. In connection with the subject of the rape of children, it should be mentioned that death not unfrequently results from mortification or peritonitis brought on by violent laceration of the vagina or perineum.
Rape upon Adult Women.-In cases of alleged rape upon adult women, the medical examiner may be questioned as to the possibility of a healthy, vigorous adult woman being overcome by one man. No positive answer should be given to so general a question, as all such cases must be judged according to particular circumstances. The relative size of the man and woman, whether the woman's life had been threatened, her condition at the time, whether she was in full possession of her faculties, or stupefied by drink, whether narcotized, hypnotized, or under the influence of anaesthetics, must all be taken into careful consideration before the examiner commits himself to the expression of a positive opinion. The question has often been asked of the medical expert whether a woman could be raped while asleep. The Medical Faculty of Leipsic decided in 1669 that question in the affirmative: "dormientem in sella virginem insciam deflorari posse." Notwithstanding, it seems incredible that a woman could sleep so soundly as to be unconscious of having sexual intercourse. Such, indeed, was the opinion of Valentin, who, in commenting upon the above decision, shrewdly observes: "Non omnes dormiunt qui clausos et conniventes habent oculos." 1
1 Valentini, Michaelis Bernhardi: Novella Medico-legales, Frankfort ad Moenum, 1711, Introd. Part II., pp. 30, 31.
It should be mentioned, in this connection, that excitable, emotional women, under the influence of ether and chloroform, especially if the period be that of their menses, are very apt to imagine that they are having sexual intercourse with their husbands, lovers, or even with the surgeon or dentist who may be operating upon them. So true is this that it is of the utmost importance for surgeons and dentists to insist upon the presence of witnesses during the performance of operations upon women under the influence of anæsthetics. Indeed, in the absence of witnesses under such circumstances, professional men have been charged and convicted of rape, though without doubt entirely innocent of the crime, and, extraordinary as it may appear, even though the women were never at any time examined medically. Unfortunately, in the case of alleged rape upon adult women, the medical examination usually made is postponed so long that even if the crime has been committed all traces of it have disappeared. If the woman has offered much resistance, bruises will usually be found upon the thighs and legs, and sometimes also upon the arms and trunk. The most important proofs of rape upon adult women are, however, derived from the condition of the sexual organs and the hymen, and the presence of blood and semen. Among such proofs may be mentioned the soreness, swelling, laceration of the vulva and vagina, rupture of the hymen, the presence of blood and semen upon the persons and clothes of the woman and man.
But it must be remembered that frequently women affected with leucorrhoea or vaginitis, in both of which diseases there is a discharge from the vagina simulating that produced by violence, take advantage of their condition to charge innocent men with having committed rape upon 1 Philadelphia Medical Examiner, December, 1854, p. 705.
them. Further, while the discharge in leucorrhoea is mucous in character, that of intense vaginitis may be so purulent as to make it impossible to distinguish it from that of gonorrhoea. Under such circumstances, the fact that a man has gonorrhoea would not be proof that he had committed an assault upon the woman charging him with rape, since the purulent discharge in the woman might be due to vaginitis rather than to gonorrhoea acquired from the man.
In the case of alleged rape upon adult women, as upon children, much importance cannot be attached to the presence or absence of the hymen as disproving or proving a rape, for the reasons already given. If there be, however, other signs of violence, a ruptured or lacerated hymen would be strong corroborative evidence of a rape having been committed.
Rape upon the Dead.-Occasionally the medical examiner may be called upon to determine whether a woman found dead had been violated before death. In the absence
of witnesses, and in view of the fact that the prosecutrix can make no statement, the evidence will be necessarily entirely of a medical character. But in such cases, even if all the signs of sexual intercourse were present, it would be impossible for the medical examiner to state whether the woman had or had not given her consent. Even on the supposition that the woman had been violated before death, it might be impossible to state positively whether the ravisher and the murderer were one and the same person. Indeed, a woman found dead and violated may have been murdered first and violated afterwards, and not necessarily by the same person, for, horrible as the thought may be, violation of the dead is less rare than might be supposed. Indeed, it was of such common occurrence in ancient times that classical writers refer to the necessity of undertakers
being watched to prevent them violating the bodies of women committed to their charge. In the case of very young girls found dead and violated, the probability is that the child had been ravished and then murdered, the ravisher hoping by that means to escape the consequences
of his crime.
It would hardly be supposed that a rape could or would be committed by a female upon a male. As a matter of fact, nevertheless, such cases have occurred.
Unnatural Crimes.—Though not germane to the subject of this section, crimes against nature, committed either with man or beast, unnatural crimes, sodomy, pæderastia, tribadism, bestiality, may as appropriately be considered in their medico-legal relations here as elsewhere. While of frequent occurrence in the East, such practices are rare in America, and are criminal and punishable by imprisonment for a term of years. In cases of sodomy both parties are held to be equally guilty, unless the person on whom the act was committed refused consent, or was a minor, an idiot, or feeble-minded. In recent cases laceration of the sphincter ani, bruises and fissures, and blood about the anus may be observed. Unless, however, the examination be made very soon after perpetration of the act, all traces will have disappeared. Characteristic appearances are presented by persons addicted to such practices. Among the most conspicuous may be mentioned a funnel-shaped condition of the anus, which is usually enlarged, smooth, and destitute of rugæ.1 Chancres and venereal warts are also not uncommonly present.
1 "Multò magis frequentem tam nefandé coitûs usum significare poterit ipsius. Podicis constitutio, qui cùm ex Natura rugosus existat, ex hujus modi congressu laevis, ac planus efficitur, obliterantur enim rugæ illæ in ani curriculo existerites, ob assiduam membri attritionem " (Zacchias, Pauli: a, Quaestionum Medico-legalium, Lib. v., Tit. i., Quaest. i., p. 383; b, Lib. ii., Tit. ii., Quaest. ii., p. 288).