Viginity test: play or plunge
Over the years, I have come to see the female gender as an endangered specie of the Homo sapiens due to some practices based on cultural or religious beliefs. It is therefore uncivil, unethical and an abuse of their rights and privileges when certain things are imposed upon them. Chief amongst them is the case of virginity test.
A conversation ensued between I and a female friend of mine as regards the subject matter and it’s apparent that a whole lot of individuals have still got some misconceptions of Virginity. I feel pained that women are made to go through certain things that ought to remain within the purview of the female and her partner.
Female virginity is traditionally defined as the state of a woman who has not engaged in penis-vagina sexual intercourse. Female virginity cannot be measured or proven from a physical examination or test. A medical professional, friend, partner, or family member cannot “see” a woman’s virginity. Female virginity is NOT a tangible entity. In this guide, we seek to dispel the myth of “physical virginity” and to provide women with the knowledge and practical tools to overcome patriarchal constraints.
Imposed Virginity Testing (IVT) is a basic violation of human rights. It occurs when an examiner performs a gynecologic examination in which he/she looks at the vaginal opening for an “intact” hymen.
What is a hymen?
A hymen is a thin fold (or folds) of mucous tissue located 1-2 centimeters inside the vaginal opening that surrounds or may even completely cover the opening. Its color is slightly pink but it can also look whitish. When a girl enters puberty and starts to produce the hormone oestrogen, this can cause the hymen to thicken and increase in width. There is not one type of hymen; they come in many different shapes and forms. Additionally, although it is very rare, a girl may be born entirely without a hymen….Yes very possible..
What can Cause Hymen To Tear?
The first time that a woman has penis-vagina sexual intercourse, it is possible that the penetration of the penis into the vaginal opening may partially or completely rupture the hymenal tissue. This may cause the woman to feel some discomfort and some bleeding may occur. However, less than half of women bleed the first time that they have intercourse .Most importantly, there are actually other activities that can cause tears in the hymen. Participating in sports like cycling, horseback riding, or gymnastics can cause hymenal tears. There are also other things that may cause the hymen to tear: the insertion of a tampon, the insertion of a speculum during a gynecological exam, the insertion of fingers, and masturbation. Therefore, whether or not a woman’s hymen is “intact” cannot be physical proof of whether or not she has engaged in penis-vagina sex.
Do You Also Know that…
When a woman has vaginal intercourse the hymen can still be intact (it can stretch)!!?
Women can break their hymens in ways unrelated to sex such as riding a bicycle, falling down, or inserting a tampon. Other girls have their hymens ruptured when they are sexually assaulted.In fact, the threat of these tests motivates some young women and girls to participate in “virginity-saving”, this are sexual practices that put them at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STD), including HIV. In areas where there is rising social pressure to undergo virginity testing, some doctors report a rise of anal sex among young women, and hypothesize that this is related to the concurrent rise in HIV-infection rates in young women in these same areas. In contrast, there are a wide range of sexual activities, many of which put people at risk of HIV-infection, that do not involve vaginal penetration. In addition, the increased value being placed on young women’s virginity may play into beliefs that virgins have special healing powers and that sex with a virgin can cure a man of HIV/AIDS. Therefore, certification of virginity can put young women at risk for sexual violence.
WHO PERFORMS THE TEST?
The process of virginity testing varies by region. In areas where medical doctors are readily available, such as Turkey before the country banned the practice, the tests will often be given in a doctor’s office. However, in countries where doctors are not available, testers will often be older women, or whoever can be trusted to search for a hymen. This is common among African tribes that perform the test.
HOW IS IT DONE?
The Two Finger Test
A doctor performs the test by inserting a finger into the female’s vagina to check the level of vaginal laxity, which is used to determine if she is “habituated to sexual intercourse”. However, the usefulness of these criteria has been questioned by medical authorities and opponents of virginity testing because vaginal laxity and the absence of a hymen can both be caused by other factors, and the “two-finger test” is based on subjective observation. In virginity tests, the presence of a hymen is often used to determine if a woman is a virgin.
Among the Bantu of South Africa, virginity testing or even the suturing of the labia majora has been commonplace. Traditionally, Kenuzi girls (of the Sudan) are married before puberty by adult men who inspect them manually for virginity.
Virginity testing has taken many forms at various times in places as disparate as China, Haiti, Italy, Jamaica, Turkey, and Zimbabwe. Virginity testing is primarily conducted on girls, but, in a very few instances, boys are also “tested.” Females are eligible for testing when they are anywhere from seven to 26 years old. Virginity testing is sometimes a public event, conducted as part of a rite, and performed in church or at school. In other communities, virginity testing is performed at home by the girl’s mother, an aunt, a neighbor, or a prospective husband. In some testing rites in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province in South Africa, girls who pass the exam receive a white star passed on their foreheads and a certificate confirming their virginity.10 Girls who do not pass the test are “taken off to the side and counseled.”
You may begin to wonder what has this got to do with the health of the woman. You have a point..but permit me to leave you at this juncture with your thoughts running through.
Please drop your questions and thoughts.
Do you know that the hymen can be replaced?
Do you also know that penis-vaginal-interaction isn’t the only means of losing virginity?
Are there male virgins? If there are, do they also undergo virginity tests?
to be continued….
- Hlongwa, Teens turn to anal sex to keep virginity.
- McNeil, Jr., Donald G. (13 September 2010). “Rape: Rights Group Calls Test to Determine Sexual Activity a ‘Second Assault’ in India”. New York Times. Retrieved15 September 2010.
- Jump up^“Dignity on Trial: India’s Need Sound Standards for Conducting and Interpreting Forensic Examinations of Rape Survivors” (Press release). Human Rights Watch. 6 September 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
- Jump up^“‘Crude, degrading’ finger-test forced on Mumbai gangrape victim by cops”. First Post. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
- Markus, Chinese brides may keep virginity secrets, (Shanghai: BBC, Jul. 31, 2002).Available online.
- A Matter of Power: State Control of Women’s Virginity in Turkey, (New York: Human Rights Watch, Jun. 1994). Available online.
- Jamaican Lawmakers Propose Virginity Tests, Sterilization to Decrease Nation’s Birth Rate, (Kaiser Family Network, Aug. 1, 2003). Available online at ??
- A Matter of Power.
- Zimbabwe: Tackling the impact of customs on AIDS, (Harare: United Nations Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN News), Aug. 17, 2004).
- South Africa Reintroduces ‘Virginity Test’ to prevent Teen Pregnancy, STDs, (Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, Jan. 10, 2001). Available online.