“Virginity Exams” in Afghanistan Continue Despite Government Efforts

Invasive and medically meaningless examinations, that are meant to determine a girl or women’s virginity status by inspecting their hymen or inserting fingers into their vagina, has persisted in Afghanistan, despite the government’s official public health policy that bars health workers from engaging in the abusive practice. The prevalence of virginity exams continues as prosecutors and law enforcement officers often order these tests in cases of moral crimes to submit as evidence which lead to longer prison sentences. Women who fail the virginity exam can be incarcerated for up to three months, but many women and girls are jailed for a year and a half. Even if women are determined to be a virgin, the stigma of the test itself ruins women’s reputations and bring humiliation to women. Girls and women who are found simply walking alongside a male can be accused of premarital sex and subjected to the harmful exam. “Virginity examinations” are humiliating, traumatic, and nonconsensual practices that attempt to determine whether a woman or a girl had premarital sex, which is considered a moral crime in Afghanistan. Virginity tests are documented to be practiced around the world in at least 20 countries, but the U.N., World Health […]

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