Towards the end of “two-finger” virginity testing in Pakistan?

“These invasive examinations are humiliating and carried out without meaningful consent, or sometimes without consent. The procedure itself can constitute sexual assault. "

Llast week at Pakistan, the Ministry of Law and Justice has just positioned itself against the virginity exam called the “two-finger test”, carried out on young girls and women who file a complaint for rape or sexual assault.

Saroop Ijaz is a lawyer. He explains on the site Human Rights Watch :

“'Virginity exams' have long been a part of criminal proceedings in Pakistan. They are based on the unscientific and misogynistic assumption that a woman 'used to sex' is less likely to have been raped. Pakistani police and prosecutors have used the tests to accuse rape victims of illegal sex and treat them like criminals. These invasive examinations are humiliating and carried out without meaningful consent, or sometimes without consent. The procedure itself can constitute sexual assault. "

Ancient tradition, these virginity tests exist in around twenty countries around the world. In 2018, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN-Women and the World Health Organization (WHO) had called for them to stop. All then denounced a "medically unnecessary and often painful, humiliating and traumatic practice".

The WHO then specified that women and girls were subjected to it by force, before marriage, or even a new job. Carried out by doctors, police officers or community leaders, these examinations are supposed to assess “the virtue, honor or social value of the women and girls concerned”.

“Virginity tests most often involve inspecting the hymen to see if it is torn or to assess how open it is, and (or) inserting fingers into the vagina (the 'two-finger test' '). Both of these techniques are practiced under the belief that the appearance of female genitals can indicate whether a girl or a woman has ever had sex. The WHO says there is no evidence that either of these methods can prove that a girl or a woman has had vaginal intercourse or not. "

Pakistan's Ministry of Law and Justice ruled that these virginity tests violated the14 article of the Constitution of the country which specifies that "the dignity of man and, subject to the law, the privacy of the home are inviolable" and that "no one may be subjected to torture in order to extract evidence ".

The Pakistani government's recommendation will now be presented to the Lahore High Court.

MC

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