Case Studies

Chapter 18: Sexual Assault Intervention and the Forensic Examination

As a freshman at a state university, Carol was sometimes overwhelmed. She did not have many friends in her dorm, so she was particularly pleased when two of the students across the hall invited her to their party. The girls were juniors and seemed very popular. Carol waited until there seemed to be a good crowd and went across the hall. After a while she felt a little woozy, even though she had only consumed two beers. Michael, a boy from the second floor, offered to help her back to her room. He had been really nice during the first few weeks of school so Carol was happy to have his help. Michael walked Carol back to her room, closed the door, and proceeded to help her to the bed. When Carol protested Michael assured her it was fine. At the bed, he pushed Carol down and proceeded to pull at her clothing. Carol tried to protest, but felt dizzy and couldn’t seem to get any strength behind her protests. Several hours later Carol awoke with her pants off and her shirt pulled up. She remembered nothing after getting back to the room. When Carol’s roommate came in at 2:00 a.m. she urged Carol to go to the hospital for an exam. It took several hours, but finally Carol agreed to go to the clinic, where the nurse talked to Carol about the incident. Eventually, Carol agreed to an exam. Even though several hours had passed, the nurse took samples for a toxicology test in addition to other samples in the evidence kit.

Because Carol sought medical assistance, the lab was able to obtain sufficient evidence from the kit to show the presence of semen. When Michael was accused of raping Carol, he claimed Carol consented to, in fact initiated, sex after they left the party. The nurse’s complete documentation of Carol’s condition, her bruises, and statements about the incident were key in the case prosecution, especially since the toxicology findings were negative.

1: Would you describe Carol's experience as rape, sexual assault, or both? Explain.
2: Describe the subclassifications of rape and sexual assault. How would you classify Carol's situation?
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