Virginity Tests And ‘Hymen Repair’ Surgery Finally Set To Be Banned
England and Wales are set to finally outlaw virginity testing and ‘hymen repair’ surgeries.
Virginity tests are considered to be a highly intrusive examination, in which doctors check to see whether a woman’s hymen is still intact. ‘Hymen repair’, officially known as hymenoplasty, is a surgical procedure to temporarily reconstruct the hymen.
This comes from a widely-believed, no-less false assumption that all women’s hymens break and everyone bleeds during their first time having sexual intercourse, when it could tear as a result of exercise, tampons or other reasons.
After earlier introducing it as a private member’s bill, Conservative MP Richard Holden’s proposals have been backed by the Department of Health and Social Care and included as a clause in the Health and Care Bill.
‘Virginity tests and hymen repair surgeries are being conducted by doctors to check or ‘restore’ the virginity of girls and women, often prior to marriage. These practices are not founded in science, are abusive and perpetuate dangerous myths,’ he said, as The Times reports.
One woman recounted her test experience to Sky News, having been forced ahead of her arranged marriage in order to protect the family’s ‘honour’, they told her. Despite ‘begging’ the doctor not to do it, he insisted as he’d already been paid.
‘He asked me to sit on the couch and put my legs up. It was a two finger test and obviously I was a virgin. I was traumatised. It felt like you were not human anymore. You wouldn’t treat an animal like that. He could see I was terrified. I was tearful, crying – I was pleading with him,’ she said.
The World Health Organization has said virginity testing is ‘a violation of the victim’s human rights and is associated with both immediate and long-term consequences that are detrimental to her physical, psychological and social well-being’. Adding: ‘The harmful practice of virginity testing is a social, cultural and political issue, and its elimination will require a comprehensive societal response supported by the public health community and health professionals.’
‘Young girls deserve to grow up without worrying about ‘breaking their womanhood’, so we must end this honour-based abuse,’ Holden added, hoping for cross-party support on the ban. He’s due to meet Health Secretary Sajid Javid to discuss it.
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