Volume 28, Issue 3 (July 1983)
Forensic Science Aspects of Fatal Sexual Assaults on Women
The case files of 41 female victims of proven fatal sexual assault were reviewed. They averaged 42 years of age, but a bimodal age distribution was evident. Younger victims (averaging 31 years of age) were most often found in canals, fields, or vacant lots, whereas older women (averaging 51 years of age) were found most often in their residences. Death usually resulted from mechanical asphyxiation, and the use of firearms was infrequent. Various instruments used to harm, restrain, or kill the victim were most often obtained at the scene of death and reflected the emotionality and impulsivity of the incident. Alcohol was found in the blood of 40% of the victims and averaged 0.14%. Ligature bindings, torn clothing, varying degrees of disrobing, and bite marks were not infrequent. The average yearly incidence of fatal sexual assaults on females is calculated to be 0.14/100 000 population in Dade County, FL and has not changed appreciably since 1959. Thus, death resulting from sexual assault was found to be distinctly unusual. Black victims were represented more frequently than their racial distribution in this community. The scene and autopsy findings of the average female sexual assault victim form a characteristic profile that should direct further investigation on a particular case.