Lacerations not vital in rape case

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I have been going through a lot in the past couple of months because of a traumatic incident that happened to me with one of my male officemates. We have known each other for almost a year. We usually hang out for drinks at the end of the work week or even during weekends. I have been open to him that I cannot entertain his affection since I have a long distance relationship with my boyfriend of four years, and I know that he also has a girlfriend.

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One night last month, we were drinking at his house. Since I had too much to drink, he offered his room and said that he will just stay in his living room. I agreed because I thought it would be safer than going home drunk. But I was wrong. He sexually forced himself to me. I could not fight back because I was too weak. I could not even remember that I passed out.

When I woke up, I immediately went home and did not go to work for several days. I had myself checked but the findings showed no gashes on my private parts. I just want to know if it is still possible for me to file a case for rape against him. I am really decided on making him pay for what he did to me, but I am afraid that I have no physical proof. Please advise.
Bee26

Dear Bee26,
Rape is a crime punishable under our law. It is committed: (1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances: (a) Through force, threat or intimidation; (b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or is otherwise unconscious; (c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and (d) When the offended party is under 12 years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present; (2) By any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof, shall commit an act of sexual assault by inserting his penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person (Article 266-A, Revised Penal Code).

In the situation that you have presented, we believe that you may file a criminal complaint for rape against your male officemate considering that he has sexually forced himself to you without obtaining your full consent to such sexual act.

It is understandable that you have apprehensions or reservations in pursuing to file a complaint against your male officemate, most especially given that the medical findings conducted to you show that there were no lacerations found on your private parts. Nevertheless, we wish to emphasize that the presence or absence of wounds, gashes or lacerations on the victim’s private parts is not the sole determining factor whether a complaint for rape will prosper or not. A complaint may be filed, whether there are lacerations or none, so long as the victim, such as yourself, can clearly elucidate what transpired during the ill-fated incident and provided that there are other strong pieces of evidence which can substantiate the victim’s allegations. The Supreme Court has already held that:

“x x x The presence of lacerations is not an element of the crime of rape. This court previously characterized the presence or absence of lacerations as a “trivial or inconsequential [matter]that does not alter the essential fact of the commission of rape.”64 The presence of lacerations is, therefore, not necessary to sustain a conviction. An accused may be found guilty of rape regardless of the existence or inexistence of lacerations. The absence of lacerations is not a sufficient defense. x x x

However, the presence of lacerations may be used to sustain conviction of an accused by corroborating testimonies of abuse and documents showing trauma upon the victim’s genitals. x x x” (People of the Philippines vs. Quintos,G.R. No. 199402, November 12, 2014).

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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1 Comment

  1. How can a woman claim/prove rape if she has no physical evidence?

    The primary evidence of intercourse has to be proven. DNA evidence is usually sufficient to prove intercourse occurred but how can it be proven that it was consensual or not?

    It will just come down to who can tell the most convincing story to the court deba?