Medics in Sweden have been carrying out ‘virginity tests’ on girls without their will, at the request of their religious families. This according to a Daily Mail article which was published two days ago.
What is even more shocking though is the fact that some of our teenAGE writers (teens themselves) reported this happening to them, and others they know of, here in Jamaica.
The Daily Mail article was based on a video captured by undercover reporters who pretended to be parents and non-consenting children. What the actors uncovered was that gynaecologists were willing to carry out the exercise, even with the teen’s consent. One even said that he had done hundreds of such exams.
One real victim (called ‘Sara’ for the purposes of the article) told of being 13 and being forced to do such an exam by her religious family, after being forced to be engaged to her 15-year-old cousin.
When this story was shared, a female said that she had experienced it firsthand. Another had a close friend who had been carried by her mother to the gynaecologist before the start of high school, in order to ensure she was still a virgin.
Shocked by these stories, we called gynaecologist Dr Anna-Kay Taylor-Christmas and asked her if this was common in Jamaica. She said that as far as she knows, this is not standard practice.
We also asked if it was even possible for a gynaecologist to determine if a patient was still a virgin. She said that it was possible for the hymen (membrane which partially closes the opening of the vagina) to be broken by non-sexual activity. Therefore it was a task of little utility, while ‘posing the risk of psychological damage to the child, especially without their consent.’
Finally, Dr Taylor-Christmas stated that: “Parents should be encouraged to have an open relationship with their child” rather than resorting to an examination that would make little sense.