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LHC Declares Controversial Two-Finger Test For Rape Survivors Illegal

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In a landmark judgement, Lahore High Court (LHC) has declared the controversial two-finger and hymen tests for rape survivors illegal and unconstitutional, saying that it has no scientific or medical basis.

The petition against the practice of virginity testing on complainants of rape and sexual assault filed with the Lahore High Court back in March last year. The petition demanded that the two finger test be banned as it is “disrespectful, inhuman and violative to fundamental rights of women.”

Justice Ayesha Malik of the LHC, who was hearing the case, declared the controversial test illegal. The judgment reads: “It is declared that two finger test and the hymen test carried out for the purposes of ascertaining the virginity of a female victim of rape or sexual abuse is unscientific having no medical basis, therefore it has no forensic value in cases of sexual violence.”

The verdict further says that virginity test offends the personal dignity of the female victim and therefore is against the right to life and right to dignity enshrined in Article 9 and 14 of the Constitution;

“It is also declared that virginity tests are discriminatory against the female victim as they are carried out on the basis of their gender, therefore offends Article 25 of the Constitution.”

It was advised by the court that the “Provincial Government should devise appropriate medico-legal protocols and guidelines, along with standard operating procedures, in line with international practice that recognize and manage sensitively the care of victims of sexual violence. This includes regular training and awareness programs so that all stakeholders understand that virginity tests have no clinical or forensic value.”

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Naya Daur