A woman’s body should not be used as a tool for intimidation, and nobody should have their dignity violated – Samira Ibrahim
What is virginity testing?
Virginity testing is the examination of the sex organs of a person, usually a female. This is done to make sure that the girl child has not engaged in sexual intercourse and is ‘pure’.
Where is virginity testing practiced
Virginity testing is practiced around the world, particularly in parts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. It has also been found in Western countries like Canada, Spain, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
In October 2018, the world health Organization stated that virginity testing is a painful, humiliating and a traumatic practice that constitutes violence against women and must end.
Physicians have also spoken about the unreliability of virginity testing, but people continue to do this.
How virginity testing is carried out
The most common test for virginity testing is the presence of an intact hymen. It is widely believed that the hymen will break at first intercourse, causing bleeding.
Virginity testing is carried out in different ways around the world
- Two-finger insertion where a person checks the tightness or looseness of the vagina by inserting their fingers inside it. But what a lot of them do not understand is the absence of hymen can be caused by other factors and some women lack hymen from birth, so this is not a reliable method to ‘check’ virginity.
In India, common methods used include:
- Kukari ki Rasam, – A thread is used to detect the presence of a hymen; A white thread is placed on the bed when the couple have sex after marriage. The following morning, elders of the family locate traces of blood on it.
- Paani ki Deej – (purity by water), A woman is expected to hold her breath underwater while someone walks a hundred steps. 100 steps!
- Agnipariksha – (trial by fire), brides walk with a red-hot iron in hand with only a plate made from leaves and dough shielding her hands from the heat. Women who are unable to do the task or leave it in mid-way are considered impure.
Brides who fail the tests are beaten and forced to disclose the names of sexual partners, who are then required to pay the bride’s parents large sums of money. So that, they can accept an ‘impure bride’ – Source
My heart goes out to the girls that have gone through these ‘tests’, it’s so common. Most of us have friends, sisters, cousins, aunties that have gone through this, it’s invasive and not getting as much attention as it should be getting.
The practice is sexist, it preaches that sexual liberty is acceptable for men, but not for women, it says women’s bodies are not completely theirs and they will be shamed if they choose to have sex outside marriage.
Imagine a 15-year-old girl coming back from school and the next thing she must do is open her legs wide apart so an adult can ‘confirm’ her ‘pureness’ and God forbid she has lost it through sports and other activities or not born with one. She will not be believed, be disciplined and abused.
Everyone should have the right to do what they want to do with their body.
If people are so bothered about girls having sex, sex education is the way, teach girls all they need to know about sex. Making a girl feel like she has no control over her body is wrong! I have heard of cases where girls have anal sex just so they can remain ‘virgins’ or insert things that should not go into their vagina like alum or sit inside hot water so they can be ‘tight’ during the test.
When I was younger, I used to get the ‘keep your virginity talk’ and that was as much as most of us got with regards to sex education. I’m glad I was not ‘tested, I would have felt sick to my stomach for having my privacy invaded like that.
I will love to collate stories from ladies that have experienced Virginity testing, we need to spark conversations about this so people understand that this is an invasive, painful, humiliating and a traumatic practice that constitutes violence against women and must end.
Kindly send me an email [email protected]
Every submission will be posted anonymously.
Please share with anyone that you think has a story that must be heard.
Love and Light always,