Virginity testing which involves inspecting the hymen is often referred to as hymen, ‘two-finger test’ or per vaginal examination, it is an inspection of female genitalia designed to determine whether a woman or girl has had vaginal intercourse.
A virginity test is the practice and process of determining whether a person, usually a female, is a virgin; i.e., to determine that she has never engaged in, or been subjected to, sexual intercourse.
The test typically involves a check for the presence of an intact hymen, on the flawed assumption that it can only be torn as a result of sexual intercourse.
The World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations (UN) Human Rights and UN Women have today issued a statement calling for the elimination of so-called ‘virginity testing.’
Virginity testing is a violation of the human rights of girls and women, and can be detrimental to women’s and girls’ physical, psychological and social well-being.
Virginity testing reinforces stereotyped notions of female sexuality and gender inequality. The examination can be painful, humiliating and traumatic.
Given that these procedures are unnecessary and potentially harmful, it is unethical for doctors or other health providers to undertake them. Such procedures must never be carried out.
Dr Sanjay Gupte, gynaecologist from Pune, said, “Many researchers state that a broken hymen is not a reliable indicator that a female has been vaginally penetrated because the tearing of the hymen may have been the result of some other event. Furthermore, in rare cases, some girls are born without hymens.”
Dr Meenakshi Deshpande, another gynaecologist from Pune said, “Many girls are undergoing virginity tests these days. Society should understand that virginity tests have no scientific basis. Asking a girl to undergo such tests is also a violation of human rights.”