Pakistan’s top court says ‘virginity test’ in rape cases unconstitutional
Islamabad, Mar 25 (efe-epa).- The Supreme court of Pakistan Thursday said the so-called “virginity test” or “two-finger test,” used to determine if a woman had sexual intercourse in rape cases, was unconstitutional.
The top court barred the practice often used to undermine the survivor’s reputation.
It said the test to determine the size of the vagina was “an affront to the reputation and honor of the rape survivor.”
“Modern forensic science thus shows that the two finger test must not be conducted for establishing rape-sexual violence,” Judge Mansoor Ali Shah said, delivering the verdict in a rape case.
Apart from determining whether sexual intercourse had taken place, the test was used to establish if the woman had an active sex life.
It was often interpreted as willingness to “have sex with anyone” and used to question the rape accusation.
The court said it amounted to an attack on the woman’s dignity and “discrediting her independence, identity, autonomy and free choice,” guaranteed under the constitution.
“The courts should also discontinue the use of painfully intrusive and inappropriate expressions, like ‘habituated to sex,’ ‘woman of easy virtue,’ ‘woman of loose moral character,’ and ‘non-virgin,’ for the alleged rape victims even if they find the charge of rape is not proved against the accused,” the verdict said.
“Such expressions are unconstitutional and illegal.”
The Supreme Court decision comes after the Lahore High Court in January banned the test in the Punjab province.
The virginity test has been severely criticized by the United Nations and human rights groups in recent years, with neighboring India banning it in 2013 and Bangladesh following the suit in 2018. EFE-EPA