February 10, 2019
“Virginity test will be considered a form of sexual assault, after consultations with the Law and Judiciary Department , a circular will be issued declaring it a punishable offence”, Home Minister had stated. Minister Patil made this statement, after meeting a delegation of social organisations , who convened to address the issue of forceful virginity testing practice of Kanjarabhat community among others. Youths from this region, had started social campaign against this custom, which had gained momentum in all social media portals.
Last year, the United Nations announced that performing virginity test is medically unnecessary and harmful. The test violates several human rights and ethical standards including the fundamental principle.
WHO claims that this test should not be performed under any circumstances. On this note, The Covai Post spoke to medical professionals and social activists on how this practice is viewed in our community.
Twenty-year-old, Regina (name changed) was brought to virginity test to a famous gynaecologist in Coimbatore. The doctor told The Covai Post ,on conditions of anonymity, that she was disgusted and enraged at such a request. She had declined to do the test and counselled the parents and a persistent mother-in-law-to-be about how traumatic, painful and humiliating this was for the woman concerned.
“The bride-to-be was close to tears when she left the hospital. This one case had ruined that day’s mood,” she rued. She stated the entire concept of virginity test based on deduction of hymen is invalid. A girl can lose her hymen not necessarily by intercourse but even from the rigour of exercising or from sports activities.
Another senior gynaecologist from Salem district, mentioned that she hasn’t received any patients asking for virginity tests for their daughters , however, she had to perform a hymenorrhapy (hymen reconstruction surgery) last year on a 39-year-old patient who was to be married soon. She said that her patient was depressed throughout her recovery.
This kind of inhumane expectations can be observed more among the elite crowd of society. She strongly feels that people from rural areas and middle-class community do not seek such requests, even if they are bothered about this.
Vennila Thayumanavan, a scientist, a feminist and a social activist from Chennai, blames the patriarchal set up of the Indian society as one of the reasons for this kind of absurdity.
According to her,in olden days early marriage might have been practiced to tend to the body’s biological needs of both genders. But today’s kids have bypassed that and they settle down in lives late, she stated.
She opposes the thought process of linking the biological needs of the body to the agenda called marriage. Vennila said that society should analyse and address the biological needs of the body in a different level rather than making it sacred and linking it to the process called wedding.
This is why this tendency to make a woman undergo virginity test comes in. She blames the backward thinking of society on this front.