India slammed for rape victim 'finger tests'

2012-12-30 16:14

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New Delhi - Human Rights Watch called on the Indian government on Sunday to ban the "undignified" treatment of rape victims who are often subjected to degrading examinations by doctors.

The New York-based rights group highlighted the continuing use of the so-called "finger test" in India in which a doctor tests the laxity of a victim's vagina, apparently to determine if she is "habituated to sexual intercourse".

Commenting after the horrific gang-rape in New Delhi of a 23-year-old student, who died on Saturday, the group said the findings from such tests were "unscientific" and often wrongly discredited complaints from women.

"While conducting medical examinations, many doctors record unscientific and degrading findings," said a statement from the organisation, which called on the government to "eliminate the use of finger tests on sexual assault survivors".

The Delhi gang-rape has led to soul-searching and demands that authorities do more to protect women, who face daily discrimination and harassment with little sympathy or help from police.

Rape survivors "usually find it difficult to register police complaints, and often go from one hospital to another even for a medical examination, and often report suffering humiliation at police stations and hospitals," Human Rights Watch said.

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