Feministaa

Revealing the Harsh Truth behind Virginity Testing in India

By Team Feministaa in

16/09/2022
Have you ever heard someone asking a man if he is a virgin or not ? Well , not really. But, we all have definitely witnessed or heard of women being asked the same before they are exposed to the marriage set up.
One might not know but, virginity tests are quite rampant in India. An old tradition named ‘Kukari ki Rasam’ is conducted in many rural villages in India. By using a skein of thread, they try to detect the presence of hymen. Some women are left feeling humiliated and traumatised after the test is conducted. In case, the hymen is not detected, the girl is considered to be impure and not fit for the ceremony.
Research suggests that the concept of a mass marriage ceremony is quite widespread in the Villages in India. These people mainly belong to tribal families. The family sends of their daughters for the “virginity test” and after going through a physical examination conducted by a female doctor, they are awarded a special badge, which confirms their status of being a virgin.
If the woman says no, she is often lured by offering her a sum of money as a wedding gift. In this case, the woman generally doesn’t say no and goes ahead with the procedural testing.Also, If the family gets to know, that the girl had a lover, the guy is liable to pay a hefty amount to the girl’s family for “using” the body parts . It’s disgusting but true that these families make money off the girls’ body parts.
Another such practice is called, “Paani ki Deej” (purity by water). This is conducted by some Indian communities to test the virginity status of the bride on her wedding night. During this, the woman is expected to hold her breath under the water, while a person is made to walk a hundred steps. If she succeeds, she is considered to be pure.
Sadly, even if there are complaints filed by women to get help, the police in India does not bother to take any legal action. “Virginity tests are not covered under the Indian Penal Code and as such cannot be considered a crime,” says S. Jain, Deputy Inspector-General of police in Jaipur.
The WHO asserts and encourages ending the process of virginity testing as it is considered a human rights violation. Still , this inhuman practice is conducted in countries around the world including Egypt, Afghanistan, Turkey, Libya, Jordan, Indonesia and South Africa.
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