Female Genital Injury Following Consensual and Nonconsensual Sex: State of the Science

Jocelyn C. Anderson, Daniel J. Sheridan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Introduction: Nurses who evaluate patients following sexual assault are often faced with the task of identifying genital injuries and providing legal testimony regarding the nature of the injuries. Following a 2000 Virginia State court decision, sexual assault nurse examiners have had to struggle to answer the questions, "Are the genital injuries consistent with the patient's history?" and "Are the genital injuries consistent with sexual assault?". Methods: A search of the relevant scientific literature was conducted. Sources were examined and reviewed to identify what is presently known about adult female genital injuries associated with either consensual or nonconsensual sexual intercourse. Results: Female genital injuries occur with both consensual and nonconsensual sexual contact. Although some studies suggest that differences in injury patterns, types, or locations may exist, the data do not unequivocally confirm these findings. Discussion: Currently, the presence or absence of genital injury should not be used to render an opinion regarding consent to sexual intercourse. Further research is necessary to determine if injury patterns can indeed distinguish consensual from nonconsensual sex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)518-522
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Emergency Nursing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Emergency


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