Virginity testing is still a thing is some parts of the world

This practice has been used historically to torture and punish young women in some parts of the world.

Woman sitting watching through a window.

Woman sitting watching through a window. / Photo: Pixabay - Reference image

The Woman Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez Toro

Listen to this article

Leer en español: Las pruebas de virginidad todavía existen en el mundo

Last week, a rapper called T.I. revealed that he has the doctor checking on his daughter´s hymen. “We’ll go and sit down and the doctor comes and talk, and the doctor’s maintaining a high level of professionalism,” he said in the podcast Ladies Like Us. “He’s like, ‘You know, sir, I have to, in order to share information’ — I’m like, ‘Deyjah, they want you to sign this so we can share information. Is there anything you would not want me to know? See, Doc? Ain’t no problem.'”

His words have caused a lot of controversy (and it is obvious why) but we want to talk about the main issue of his statements: virginity testing is still a thing. This practice has been used historically to torture and punish young women in some parts of the world. 

According to The Rolling Stone, in this practice, a physician inserts two fingers in the woman´s vagina to check if her hymen is intact.

Even though this is not a method that can actually prove if a person is still a virgin because the hymen can be broken even when riding a bike, in various cultures around the world this test is used to see if a girl is eligible for marriage. 

And it is not only happening there. According to a report released by Marie Claire, out of 288 physicians interviewed in 2016, 10% had been asked by a family member to perform the two-finger test on a patient, and 34% said they had performed it themselves. 

Also read: Women at higher risk of feeling chronic pain

In October of 2018, WHO, UN Human Rights and UN Women issued a statement calling for the elimination of 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”, says the press release. 

Even though this problem has been documented by many, not action or public acknowledgment has been taken in order to stop it. 

Until 2018 in Afghanistan, where having sex before getting married is a crime, “the law stated that women and girls could be incarcerated for up to three months for failing virginity tests”, as read on The Rolling Stone. 

In Indonesia, for example, women that want to enter the police forces are required to take the test for “morality reasons”, as read on Reuters. So while T.I.’s responses were horrible, we can use this as an opportunity to take action on this practice that has even taken lives in some places in the world.