Virginity testing forced on women

2012-07-01 14:36
Gavel (<a href=\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\http://www.shutterstock.com\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\>Shuttertstock</a>)

Gavel (Shuttertstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Baghdad - Iraqi women face court-ordered virginity tests that often show they were virgins until marriage but shame them nonetheless, doctors at an institute that carries out the tests and a lawyer told AFP.

Remaining a virgin until marriage can be an issue of life or death for women in the Middle East, where those who are seen as having dishonoured the family by having premarital sex are sometimes killed by male relatives.

An average of several virginity tests are performed per day at the Medical Legal Institute (MLI) in Baghdad, in a small windowless room with blue-tiled walls and a black table with leg stirrups at one end.

Other equipment includes a white scope on a wheeled stand and a bright white light, also on wheels, near the end of the table.

"Most of the cases we received after the first day of marriage," said Dr Munjid al-Rezali, the director of the MLI.

"The husband claim that she is not a virgin, and then the family bring her here, through the courts, this all come through the courts, and we examine her," Rezali said, speaking in English.

Not uncommon

"It's not uncommon, we are seeing a lot," he added.

The tests include examination of the woman's hymen, but the man involved may also come under scrutiny.

The man may be tested for impotency, Rezali said, noting that in some cases, a man with erectile dysfunction may pretend the woman was not a virgin to hide his shame.

The results of the tests go directly to the courts, and are not given by the MLI to the parties involved, Rezali said.

"They think that during the marriage, (the) first day of marriage, there should be blood... they think if there is no blood, there is no virginity," said Dr Sami Dawood, a forensic doctor at the MLI who has been involved in the tests.

This belief, he said, indicates that sex education and knowledge is "very poor."

Up to the men

If a man thinks his new wife is not a virgin, he may take the issue to court, leading to the MLI performing a virginity test, said Dawood.

Asked about the results of the tests, Dawood said that "most of them (are) with the woman, not against the woman, but it is by itself... shaming."

However, he said that while women were killed in the past if blood was not found on the sheets after their wedding night, people now seek recourse through the courts and the virginity tests procedure.

The test, which takes between 15 and 30 minutes, is carried out by three doctors, at least one of them a woman, and the results are certified by two others, said Dawood, adding that the tests are done only when ordered by a court.

"The judge is required to send the woman for the medical test when she is accused by her husband of not being a virgin, and that is only done in this case," lawyer Ali Awad Kurdi said.

No law to protect women

"If it is proved that the woman was not virgin and sought to get married without telling the man, there is no law that protects her," Kurdi said.

The woman's family is then required to recompense the man for gifts, money and other expenditures related to the relationship.

Various Iraqi judicial officials either declined to speak about the issue, or could not be reached by AFP.

"Non-governmental organisations do not have any means of protecting women from this accusation of this crime, because it is a very sensitive matter," said Intisar al-Mayali, an activist from the Iraqi Women's Association, a local rights group.

Marianne Mollmann, senior policy adviser for rights group Amnesty International, called virginity tests both wrong and ineffective.

"The issue of virginity testing, and forced virginity testing and sort of legal virginity tests in court proceedings or in other ways, violate a whole host of human rights and are just not justifiable," she said.

Hymen's can break

"Even if it were legitimate to look at whether women were virgins for whatever reason, which it's not, you can't use a virginity test for that, because the hymen might break for any reason," Mollmann said.

The test "doesn't do what it's set out to do."

Liesl Gerntholtz, the director of the Women's Rights Division at Human Rights Watch, said: "The Iraqi government should urgently put measures in place to ensure that women and girls are not forced to undergo physical examinations that are degrading, painful and frightening."

"The use of these tests in court should be banned."

Read more on:    iraq  |  culture
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
18 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 

6 life hacks you simply have to know

A few simple tricks can make your life so much easier!

 
 

For chic geeks...

Device lets disabled people talk through their nose
It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
This is why you should install iOS 8
17 photo illusions that look so real

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It may feel like you are treading water and going nowhere fast. You may want to get off the merry go round. By pushing yourself...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.