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Trending: Call for Papers Volume 3 | Issue 2: International Journal of Advanced Legal Research [ISSN: 2582-7340]

Virginity Testing: A Social Evil of Our Time

Introduction

 In today’s society where gender inequality dominates, virginity testing has been a serious concern for the girl child. Sadly, because of the illiteracy levels that prevail in the societies and cultures of today, female virginity has turned out to be a big issue as if men are not born virgins and should not preserve the same. The trauma that a girl child goes through is undermined as if female genital mutilation is not enough.

Virginity is a virtue but due to some circumstances, it is lost along the road of life, and does that mean one loses one value because of this? No. and why society should attach a price tag on one’s virginity other than their character and contribution to society. Society has often acted in ignorance by trying to burden the victim time and again whilst the offender is set free. In some cultures, particularly the African one, on the first night, the bride is expected to bring forth the blood-stained clothes before the relatives as evidence of her being a virgin at the time of marriage. The evil in this is that only the poor girl child is expected to preserve herself for marriage for a man who has been going around in circles deflowering other girls and no society seems to be ready for this conversation yet.

Ironically, society is expecting and advocating for gender equality when the root cause of the problem lies in the society itself. Some of the educated people are actually at the forefront and are ignorant enough to let the girl child be humiliated and tortured. Male virginity has become an uncommon and abstract idea while people still hold on to female virginity. Where then is equality when a male child does not go under the same process? A lot of complications accrue from virginity testing of a girl child as this portrays one as a bad person yet some of these young girls were abused by their relatives or strangers.

The societies of today still have some catch-up to do in terms of the knowledge that they possess. The blood-stained clothes should not be used as a measure of one’s purity as some females do not bleed on their first sexual intercourse. One can imagine of a girl child who has kept herself pure all this while and yet does not bleed during her first sexual encounter and still has to present the white cloths before her relatives. The emotional trauma that a girl child will go through, is just unbearable and unnecessary. Virginity testing in most settings and cultures refers to females only and this on its own is an encroachment to a person’s right to privacy. A society molding young girls for sexual activities and not teaching the girl child that there is more to life than just living to satisfy the sexual urges of a man!

It is a known fact that no two people can walk together unless they have agreed. Society tries to chip in and makes sure the brides’ virginity gets tested when the two parties have already accepted their past and moved on. It however becomes a different scenario altogether in the case of an arranged marriage where the parents are the main actors and they seem to control all that transpires in the marriage of their children. The status of a girl has to remain known to both parents at the time of her marriage. In both cases be it love or arranged marriages, virginity testing remains a social evil. In most of the cases, it has determined how a bride will be treated by her in-laws. A girl child is more prone to domestic violence if she is not a virgin at the time of her marriage.

Virginity testing results in a loss of confidence and often times a person is given a label in society. Most women thus resort to suicide as a way of escapism as they fail to cope with the pressure and stresses surrounding such an evil act. Not only does it affect the girl child, but the husband too can become a laughing stock in the same society and this often leads to family disintegration yet most of such situations can actually be and avoided only if the society accepts that virginity is not a yardstick or a guarantee towards a successful marriage. The husband in trying to be someone in society might end up marrying another wife to cover up for all this. The former wife will consider herself a failure because that is how society is crediting women at the time of getting married.

Virginity testing is a violation of the right to equality since marriage is not a one-way street. Such an act has to be abolished as it results in mental and emotional trauma on the girl child. Her overall inputs in all the spheres of life can actually be affected as virginity testing only portrays one as a failure. Virginity testing should not be based on the sex of a person. If a girl child is being tested then a male child should be also. Not to support any acts of unfaithfulness before marriage but we need to have a different approach when it comes to virginity testing and bears in mind that one’s virginity is lost when two parties are involved. So why then nail one partner on the cross at the expense of the other. In the cases where one is not a virgin at the time of marriage, reference should not be given to the past as virginity cannot be recovered once it is lost. So who are we to revisit peoples’ past when they have already moved on from their past and traumatizing experiences? In doing all this, the right to privacy and equality have to be kept in mind and just because virginity testing is still practiced in other cultures, does not mean it is right.
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Author: Florence Ruzive

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