By this term is understood immoral sexual acts, of every character, with persons under a given age— usually fourteen years. It differs from rape in the presumption, which the law recognizes, that the act of violence may be exercised against an already deflowered woman; while that of seduction necessarily applies exclusively to cases in which virginity still exists, and particularly to persons sexually immature.
A frequent feature of violation is its extreme silliness; it being undertaken, in some cases, where there is not the remotest possibility of successful coitus, and where whatever gratification the act affords must necessarily be of a purely psychical character. It is the act, except in rare instances, of imbeciles, paretics, persons suffering from senile dementia, and of young men who have no faith in their virility, or who have lost their potency from masturbation or excessive venery. The imagination of the sexual debauchee, in actively or passively picturing the sexual act, as Krafft-Ebing remarks, is exceedingly lively. The most frequent forms of violation are by sexual handling, mock-coitus, and by inducing the child to perform active masturbation upon the violator. Men with abnormally small penises will often attempt these crimes, from a size-dnstiiwt, and through the lack of gratification experienced from the over-large organs of mature women; but as a rule masturbation, or the psychical pleasure of the act, is the sole incentive.
Less common acts, although by no means unknown to legal medicine, are cunnilingus—the apposition of the mouth to the female organ; fellatio—the apposition of the mouth to the male organ; intercourse between the child's thighs, and various other stupratory acts.
In a case reported by Maschka,1 a young man induced little girls of eight or ten years to undress, and dance around him, naked, until he had erection and ejaculation; and Tardieu knew of a nurse-girl who masturbated children committed to her care; excited a little girl of seven with her tongue; inserted parsnips and other vegetables into her own vagina, and a small carrot into the rectum of a babe only two years old.
Not infrequently little boys are abused by sensual women; and Pel and a records a ease, that of an adult masturbator, who used to entice little girls, from ten to fourteen years, for the purpose of practising various vile and criminal acts with them, one of wmich was cunnilingus. In these acts, performed quite plainly, with the older girls at least, not entirely innocently on their part, he always had orgasm and ejaculation. Masturbation, he said, did not afford him the same pleasure. He also practised fellatio with men, and was an occasional exhibitionist.1
Other cases are, that of a priest, aged forty, who was accused of enticing little girls, endearing and fondling them, and finally inducing them to masturbate him; a laborer who committed the same acts in secluded places, fondling the girls' genitals, attempting rectal intercourse and mutual masturbation;8 and an imbecile, physically deformed, rachitic and hydrocephalic, who, after such acts, appeared to have no consciousness of their moral or legal significance.
The marked difference in the intellectual status of these three men goes to show the necessity of careful mental discrimination in all cases of violation; for, while some are the result of lasciviousness and brutality, solely, there can hardly be a doubt that many are pathological; particularly those cases of ravishment where old men are the aggressors.