No matter how progressive we are today or how the world talks about feminism and breaking stereotypes towards women, Women are still subjected to humiliation and violation of their rights by the Virginity tests.
Hundreds of women are forced to take virginity tests not only in India and Asian countries but also in Western countries like Canada, Sweden, Spain, and the Netherlands.
A woman’s virginity is still considered as a deciding factor to evaluate her character and is being perpetrated in the name of customs and traditions.
What is a Virginity Test?
A virginity test is a practice that intends to determine whether a woman is a virgin, to ensure that she has never been engaged in sexual intercourse.
How are virginity tests performed?
Different communities around the world use different methods to test the virginity of women.
Some of the commonly used methods are
1. Inspect the hymen and look at its size and shape.
2. The “two-finger test,” involves inserting fingers into the vagina.
Breaking the Myths about Hymen
The hymen is a thin elastic piece of skin that surrounds the opening of the vagina. Every individual hymen is unique in appearance.
Not all women have the same thickness of hymen. Some have very thin hymen without blood vessels, or too thick hymen which may not get ruptured but is just stretched.
Virginity tests are unreliable, sexist, and inaccurate. And yet they persist
It’s a myth that the hymen gets ruptured only during sexual intercourse and results in little bleeding.
Physical activities like cycling, sporting activities or invasive medical procedures, or the use of tampons can tear or stretch the hymen.
A woman may not have had sex previously but may nonetheless not bleed during her first sexual encounter and it has also been quoted that the hymen can heal even after being ruptured.
Virginity tests are unreliable and invasive and notoriously inaccurate as it is extremely difficult to determine whether any change to the hymen is a result of penetrative sex or other activities.
Virginity Testing – Wedding Night Ritual
Virginity testing is a long-standing practice in several regions of the world. We live in a male-centric society and for centuries, men have been making the rules. Most of the women feel that the rules need to be followed or else they would be boycotted from the community.
Some cultures like the Kanjarbhat community, in India, still believe that the practice of virginity test for brides before marriage is a mandatory ritual, which is based on the outdated notions of “purity”.
This 400-year-old custom has been designed to prove that a bride’s sexual encounter with her new husband is her first sexual experience and that her hymen is broken on her wedding night.
According to the custom, newlyweds in the community are handed a white cloth on their wedding night to use during intercourse.
The family or by a council of elders check for the blood stains on the cloth and declare whether the bride is a virgin.
‘Blood on the bed sheet a must’ to certify a woman’s character
A girl passes the test only if her hymen breaks and bleeds on the wedding night. The elders then declare her as “Maal Khara hai” which means “goods are pure”.
Is a Woman a Product to check for Defects?
If she doesn’t, they say “Maal Khota hai” meaning she is “spoiled goods” that she had premarital sex and is subjected to beatings and communal humiliation, and even divorce.
Not all people understand that bleeding during the first sexual intercourse does not always mean that the girl is not a virgin.
How it impacts women?
Conducting virginity tests to know the purity of a woman is against her right to live with dignity and right to privacy. It’s a Sexual Assault.
Though many women are railing against the practice, they are threatened by their family members or partners and are often performed without her consent.
Do I need to prove I am a Virgin? Does this define my character?
Women are subjected to guilt, shame, depression, self-disgust, anxiety, and a negative body image, and in some extreme cases even honor killings if they fail to prove their virginity.
Is there an end to this practice?
Today, most women are refusing to undergo the virginity tests and are even fighting with their families and elders to change the way they see and trust women.
Even men are supporting women to fight the regressive tradition of conducting virginity tests on brides and are protesting and campaigning against ‘virginity tests’ on brides.
The sexual assault of women can be stopped only when you can answer the following questions.
Does the virginity of women matter to lead a happy life? If so,
Why is a man’s virginity never questioned?
Why should a woman always need to go through an exam to prove something about her sexual history?
Why wouldn’t society simply believe what she says?
Just Think About It.
We hope at least this generation will ensure to eradicate this humiliating practice of women’s sexuality and violation of basic human rights.