‘Virginity tests’ offered at British medical clinics a form of abuse

04 Dec 2020 / 00:13 H.

An investigation by BBC Newsbeat and 100 Women has found that women are being offered ‘virginity tests’ at British medical clinics.

These intrusive tests are considered a violation of human rights by the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations, which want to see them banned.

‘Virginity tests,’ which involve vaginal examination to check if the hymen is intact, are unscientific and cannot prove whether someone is a virgin and is a form of abuse.

The BBC investigation found that these tests were advertised to women and can cost between £150 and £300.

The BBC managed to identify 21 clinics and managed to make inquiries with 16 of them, in which seven confirmed they offer the service. The others would not clarify their position.

However, these clinics said they would carry out hymen-repair surgery which costs from £1,500 to £3,000.

Further investigations by the BBC revealed that they are hymen-repair kits being sold online for £50.

"I don't understand why it is not illegal in the UK, it should be made illegal," said Dr Ashfaq Khan, a gynaecologist who regularly gets requests from patients for virginity testing and hymen repair.

"The whole idea the absence of part of the hymen means you're not a virgin is wrong first of all. It can be torn for various reasons, and if I was to say 'it is torn, I need to repair it' and then I can give you a certificate, that means I am giving a false certificate."

Earlier this year, the Middle Eastern Women and Society Organization started a campaign to ban “virginity testing,” and called for more education on the topic.

"Although we would like to eventually ban hymen repair, banning the practice without proper education will only do more harm than good. The only reason these practices are in business is because of this backward mentality concerning virginity,” said founder Halaleh Taheri.

"If we were to help educate our communities and to reverse this belief, then there would be no need for hymen reconstruction. It would go out of business on its own."

WHO reiterates that there is no evidence that these tests can prove a woman’s virginity because the hymen can tear for many reasons, including exercise.

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