A Pakistani court outlawed Monday the use of physical virginity tests on female rape survivors, including the invasive “two finger test.”
“It is declared that two finger test and the hymen test carried out for the purposes of ascertaining the virginity of a female victim of rape or sexual abuse is unscientific having no medical basis,” Judge Ayesha A. Malik wrote in the 30-page ruling released by the Lahore High Court.
“Therefore it has no forensic value in cases of sexual violence,” the ruling stated.
It further declared that virginity tests offend a rape victim’s dignity and are discriminatory towards women. (RELATED: Human Traffickers, Corrupt Clergy Target Pakistani Christian Girls For Chinese Grooms)
About time! LHC finally does away with archaic two-finger test for sexual assault survivors, terms virginity test ‘illegal’.— Marvi Sirmed (@marvisirmed) January 5, 2021
Congrats to all women especially those who have fought for this tirelessly. Bravo Pakistani feminists & the woman judge❤️✌????️????????https://t.co/BsOdyRmcop
Justice Malik ordered the practice, which is not mandated explicitly in Pakistani law or legal procedure, to be suspended immediately, directing local authorities under the court’s jurisdiction to begin implementing the court’s decision.
Monday’s ruling only applies to Pakistan’s Punjab province. However, it might serve as a precedent to provincial high courts — the equivalent of state Supreme Courts in the United States — in Pakistan’s other provinces, BBC News reported.
The now-prohibited virginity check, as described in the ruling, involved a practice wherein a usually female medical examiner examines the hymen and vaginal area of rape survivors to confirm whether they are virgins.
Certain doctors assert that the World Health Organization (WHO) debunked test can confirm if a woman has been penetrated for the first time. It has previously been used to discredit victims of rape judged to have previous sexual experiences, according to BBC News. (RELATED: WHO Chief Shames Officials For Not Heeding Its COVID Warnings Despite Reliance On China’s False Info)
‘According to the judgment, the virginity test “by its very nature is invasive and an infringement on the privacy of a woman to her body. It is a blatant violation of the dignity of a woman.’ #HumanityWins ???? ✊ https://t.co/9i5qobSFon— Amnesty UK (@AmnestyUK) January 4, 2021
“Today’s judgment is a welcome development and much needed step in the right direction for improving the investigative and judicial processes and making them fairer for victims of sexual assault and rape,” a statement by the petitioners in the Lahore High Court case read, Al Jazeera reported. Rights activists, lawyers, and journalists constituted the group.