Virginity test is humiliating, illegal says medical practitioner

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Virginity test is illegal, Dr Oluwajimi Sodipo, a Consultant Family Physician at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, declared in Ilorin on Wednesday.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria on the side-line of a workshop for primary healthcare providers that the WHO had declared the practice as illegal.

He added that apart from the WHO declaration, the practice was archaic.

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The virginity test is conducted for various reasons, chief of which are requests from parents or suitors to establish the marriage eligibility of the female or employment eligibility.

The WHO describes a virginity test as a gynaecological examination conducted in the belief that it determines whether a woman or girl has had vaginal intercourse.

Sodipo said that there was a global call by the WHO to eliminate violence against women and girls, adding that the practice was medically unnecessary.

He added that the practice was oftentimes painful, humiliating and traumatic.

He argued that the concept of a virginity test was a myth, as the absence of a hymen did not mean that a female was promiscuous.

“The perception that there must be a blood-stained sheet at first intercourse to indicate virginity is not always scientifically correct,’’ Dr Sodipo stressed.

Speaking on gender-based violence, he observed that there had been more attention on female victims because they were more susceptible to gender-based violence.

Emerging data showed that boys and men were increasingly becoming victims, he said.

He noted that boys who had fallen victim to the menace were less likely to talk about their condition because of stereotypes.

Dr Sodipo advised survivors not to be silent about their plight but to access help from healthcare providers and other relevant stakeholders.

The workshop with the theme: Clinical Management of Sexual Gender-Base Violence (GBV) was organised by Stand To End Rape Initiative, an NGO. 

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