Statement on Virginity Testing
Independent Forensic Expert Group
Keywords:virginity examination, medico-legal statement, forcibly conducting examinations, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, torture, Independent Forensic Expert Group, ill-treatment, international human rights standards
Virginity examinations are practiced in many countries, and often forcibly, in a number of contexts, including in detention places; on women who allege rape; on women who are accused by authorities of prostitution; and as part of public or social policies to control sexuality. In other states, the practice is illegal.
The purpose of this medico-legal statement is to provide legal experts,
adjudicators, healthcare professionals, and policymakers, among others, with an understanding of the physical and psychological effects of forcibly conducting virginity examinations on females and to assess whether, based on these effects, forcibly conducted virginity examinations constitute cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or torture. This medico-legal statement also addresses the medical interpretation and relevance of such examinations and the ethical implications. This opinion considers an examination to be ‘forcibly conducted’ when it is “committed by force, or by threat of force or coercion, such as caused by fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or abuse of power, against such person incapable of giving genuine consent.”
For full details about the Independent Forensic Expert Group please visit http://www.irct.org/our-support/ medical-and-psychological-case-support/forensic-expertgroup.aspx.
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