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Gynecol Obstet Fertil. 2012 Feb;40(2):129-33. doi: 10.1016/j.gyobfe.2011.08.023. Epub 2012 Jan 16.

[Hymenal examination of under age children with a context of sexual assault].

[Article in French]

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  • 1Pôle médico-judiciaire, CHU de Bordeaux, place Amélie Raba-Léon, 33076 Bordeaux cedex, France.


The hymeneal examination is often considered as the key of the gyneacological examination of a young girl victim of sexual assault, mainly because the concept of penetration is important under the French criminal code. However, the amount medical literature related to this topic is poor. The hymen examination must be conducted under strict conditions, by qualified personnel and as soon as possible after the alleged assault.The only kind of anomaly that can confirm a penetration is an injury to the posterior hymen extending up its base. The sensitivity of this sign is, however, low and its absence does not suggest that of penetration. A vaginal penetration does not always break the hymen, especially among adolescents. Moreover, the hymen can heal and thus it makes the examination difficult when it occurs a long time after the facts. Examination of the hymen is rarely the decisive factor in the forensic assessment of a young victim of sexual assault.

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