Why Is The Illogical Two-Finger Virginity Test Still Being Used In Pakistan?
Makhdoom Shahab writes about the two-fingers test which is used to test the virginity and subsequently the piety of a woman. A doctor performs the test by inserting a finger into the female’s vagina to check the level of vaginal laxity, which is used to determine if she is ‘habituated to sexual intercourse’.
Even in the wake of a new era, our lowbrow society has continuously stooped into an endless abyss of ignorance. Our philistine society has its hands deep in all sorts of vices and heinous acts. One such stigmatizing vice is the notorious ‘two finger test’ to test the virginity and subsequently the piety of a woman. To determine that one has engaged in or has been subjected to sexual intercourse. The virginity testing is considered to be a bane of our society, both because of its implications and because it is viewed as unethical. How can condition of someone’s hymen be conclusive enough for a justification?
The UN Human Rights, UN Women and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have also declared that virginity testing must end as it is a painful, humiliating and a traumatic practice, constituting violence against women. This test in its self is an abuse to women – an abuse not only physically but also a disgraceful abuse mentally. This can lead to the victim of the test to be rather afflicted with dire anguish.
How deceitful and immoral a virginity test is, coincides with the prevalent and development of a country so it is a rather varied process. In areas such as Pakistan where women rights get forsworn and utterly rejected, the result is often the detestable two finger test.
We are living in a country with people whose faces are besmeared with ignorance where instead of taking a women for proper and medically just test our citizens and even our so called doctors rely on this pathetic test. What is even more trifling is the fact that in countries such as Pakistan where doctors are not readily available in rural area, testers will often be older women, or whoever can be trusted to search for a hymen. This is common in third world countries like Pakistan, where people ludicrously perform the test unbeknownst of how the women having the procedure performed upon would be going through.
This disgraceful two finger test involves testing for laxity of vaginal muscles with their fingers. A doctor performs the test by inserting a finger into the female’s vagina to check the level of vaginal laxity, which is used to determine if she is “habituated to sexual intercourse”. However, the usefulness of these criteria has been questioned by medical authorities and opponents of virginity testing because vaginal laxity and the absence of a hymen can both be caused by other factors, and the ‘two-finger test’ is based on subjective observation . In virginity tests, the presence of a hymen is often used to determine if a woman is a virgin which is vile, obnoxious and an utter disgrace on our humanity.
Virginity testing is more than a medical examination, but a confliction of our ideas, morals and culture. Examiners are affected by the overt and covert consequences of virginity testing, beliefs and cultural values underlying virginity testing, and informal and formal reasons for virginity testing also used to examine sexual offence.
Even though virginity testing is considered as an example of violence against women by the World Health Organisation, it is still conducted in countries like Pakistan. This flawed technique of virginity testing is medically unnecessary and this dubious genital exam exclusively performed on women, and often without their consent, it is thereby grounded in gender and power inequities and undermines women’s decision-making capabilities.
The practice of virginity testing is based on social norms that have been used historically to regulate female sexual activity and justify violence against women. In society such as ours , women are often seen as a mere vessel to bear children and are considered property of their fathers or husbands such that their bodies become objects of male control, and their perceived value becomes measured by their perceived purity. This drives the unequal social pressures for women and girls to remain virgins until they marry. These attitudes create a framework for men to assume control over female sexual behaviors, and has led to women’s punishment, and even death. Some cultures require proof of a bride’s virginity prior to her marriage. This has traditionally been tested by the presence of an intact hymen, which was verified by either a physical examination usually by a physician, who would provide a certificate of virginity or by a “proof of blood”, which refers to vaginal bleeding that results from the tearing of the hymen. The physical examination would normally be undertaken before the marriage ceremony, while the ‘proof by blood’ involves an inspection for signs of bleeding as part of the consummation of marriage, after the ceremony. It is very clear how these discriminatory attitudes have led to violence against women. Virginity testing perpetuates these harmful stereotyped beliefs through the discriminatory framework that women are primarily responsible for all sexual activity and misconduct.
A test this vile and degenerate as this deserves to be banned. The use of two finger test on testing rape victims has been banned in India and we Pakistanis, have never even thought about this sensitive topic. Why is that our country, who is built on Islam resorting to such underhanded tests whereas other non-Islamic countries such as India condemned such a test in the dawn of 2013? The government should ban such a disgraceful test.
The writer is a journalist and social media activist based in
Islamabad. He can be reached out on twitter @ShahabSpeaks