Afghan women illegally subjected to ‘virginity tests’

International Desk
15 October 2020, Thu
Published: 10:28

Afghan women illegally subjected to ‘virginity tests’

Researchers said on Thursday said that women in Afghanistan are being forced to undergo so-called virginity tests, more than two years after a law requiring consent was introduced.

The test involves a doctor performing an examination to identify whether the hymen, the thin tissue that may partially cover the vagina, is intact, and has been condemned by the UN as “painful, humiliating and traumatic”.

A study by Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission found forced gynecological examinations were still being conducted without the consent of the patient or court order, as required by a 2018 law, reports Al Jazeera reports.

The Commission interviewed 129 women across Afghanistan and found 92% of tests were performed without consent or court order.

Most of the victims were prisoners, while nine were under police surveillance. 

Just nine said they had agreed to the examination and one said she had received a court order, said the Commission, which wants the tests to be banned completely.

“Afghan women have always been victims of violence, with women often mistreated due to crimes committed by men,” said chairwoman Shaharzad Akbar.

“Compulsory gynecological examinations are one of the types of violence that have been perpetrated against Afghan women and violate their human dignity by humiliating and insulting them.”

Global health and women’s rights organizations have called for the practice to be banned, with the World Health Organization calling it a “violation of the victim’s human rights.