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Chapter: Forensic Medicine: Sexual offences

Sodomy (buggery; anal intercourse)

Sodomy may be a passing phase of homosexual behaviour during puberty.

Sodomy (buggery; anal intercourse)

Sodomy may be a passing phase of homosexual behaviour during puberty. However, an estimated 5% of males remain exclusively homosexual, of whom one-third are said to be capable of heterosexuality, but often at the price of instability in the heterosexual relationships. Situational homosexual behaviour is common in prisons and often leads to crimes of violence arising from jealousy. Homosexual behaviour is often associated with extremes of promiscuity. It has been found that 28% of homosexual males had more than 1 000 partners (Berkow 1992).

It is not surprising, therefore, that homosexuals are at serious risk of contracting a variety of sexually transmissible conditions, ranging from amoebic dysentery infections of the genital tract to AIDS. The prevalance of depression, paranoid states and suicide seems higher among homosexuals than among those conducting ‘‘normal’’ lives. As a group, homosexuals are understandably vulnerable to blackmail, especially when in high office. Thus in a medico-legal investigation of what may appear to be a motiveless suicide or homicide, the possibility of homosexual associations should not be overlooked. Taylor, quoted by Glaister in Medical Jurisprudence andToxicology found that of 96 prisoners in prison because of homosexualoffences (in England), 39 were charged with indecent assault on boys, 24 with importuning, 17 with gross indecency, and 16 with the crime of sodomy. In the case of 5% of the 96 prisoners the offences involved boys. Taylor classified the cases into four groups:

·              the pseudo-homosexual group, where homosexual acts were substituted for the preferred heterosexual act

·              the bisexual group, where there were strong bisexual tendencies

·              prostitutes among pseudo-homosexuals for purposes of gain

·              the true homosexual group, which included only thirteen of the 96. Five were always passive, two always active, three both active and passive. Fellatio was admitted by four of this group of thirteen (Rentoul& Smith 1973: 452).

In keeping with Taylor’s findings, an American investigation also found that only about 5% of group 4 had effeminate appearances.

As with cases of rape, the victim and the alleged assailant must be examined thoroughly and attention must be directed especially at detecting anal tears, which may be extensive in the inexperienced partner. In the case of marked disproportion (also with rape) the frenular artery of the active member may tear, and haemorrhaging may be surprisingly severe. Specimens for the detection of seminal fluid and blood should be taken.

 

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