Should Virginity Testing Be Banned?

Just when I think we are starting to make some inroads in the gender equality, especially with the next generation. Something comes along and makes my jaw drop and shows me that there is a segment of society that are still hell bent on controlling women, but not only that, they think that it’s ok to do so.

Last week, my social media feed was awash with disgust as rapper TI claimed he got his 18 year old daughter’s hymen checked annually in order to ascertain her virginity.

There’ so much wrong with this, I’m not really sure where to start. Perhaps we could start by the fact this was announced with a sense of pride. His daughter’s virginity seemingly a symbol of his own masculinity. Her intact hymen proudly publicised to the world with little respect for her dignity.

We could also talk about the fact the hymen isn’t actually a marker of virginity at all and can be broken by playing sports or from inserting a tampon (something TI even said himself).

Then there’s the absolute violation of his daughter’s body. How must she have felt to be taken annually to the doctor to be intimately checked for her father’s approval? It’s important also to talk about how this check is performed. By a person inserting two fingers into a woman’s vagina to see if the hymen is still intact. An act that I imagine she didn’t want to have performed on her, forced on her by a person in a position of power. Is this not tantamount to rape? (Don’t even get me started on the doctor who performed the check, that’s probably a whole other article in itself).

What isn’t mentioned in the articles is what TI would have done if his daughter’s test had come back negative? Would he have disowned her, would he beat her? There must have been some presumed sanction, otherwise what would be the point?

Virginity testing is not a new thing and believe it or not it goes on in modern society much more than you think. Have a read of this really interesting article in Rolling Stone if you want to read more. The test is used most often in India, Turkey, Egypt and South Africa to test a woman’s eligibility for marriage. Let me quote a section:

The penalty for “failing” a virginity test can be steep. In Afghanistan, for instance, where premarital sex is a crime, until 2018 the law stated that women and girls could be incarcerated for up to three months for failing virginity tests. In some extreme cases, young women who have failed virginity tests have taken their own lives or been murdered by their own family members for violating their family’s honor.

Last October, The United Nations called for a worldwide ban on virginity testing. After some extensive googling I have been trying to determine the UK stance on it, I don’t believe there is any particular law relating to it, although it does look like there have been some abuse trials. It is also not illegal in the US.

How did we get to 2019 when something so abusive against women is not outright banned? I for one am fed up with this patriarchal crap. Virginity testing is a violation against women and another example of manipulation, control and abuse. In the same conversation TI said he knew his 15 year old son was sexually active and he had no problem with it. The double standards for his two children shriek of insane hypocrisy. A world where a woman’s worth and pedigree is determined by the amount of partners she has slept with or not.

For too long women have been told that they shouldn’t have sex, shouldn’t enjoy sex, don’t deserve to orgasm, mustn’t sleep with with too many partners and certainly should not openly share tales of their exploits. They must come to the bed on the wedding night pure and virginal, unlike their male counterparts. Then by another double standard extra marital affairs are justified because a man must not be ‘getting enough’ at home. Women, quite frankly cannot win.

I’ve talked before about what gender bias is. This smacks of a time where women were traded like pedigree horses for land and titles. If you falter for one moment when you hear that a woman has had a lot of sexual partners, remember this is gender bias. Think, would you question a man in the same way? Thoughts like this are so ingrained into our society we must learn to pause, stop, rethink and challenge.

For too long women have been repressed and controlled sexually. Virginity testing is abuse, clear and simple and it needs specifically to be made illegal. The fact there are no police officers knocking on TI’s door speaks volumes.

Why Virginity Testing Should be Banned

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