Strange as it seems, a certain virginity test for women in Africa still exists. Many researchers of human rights have already labeled this test as a violation of girls’ rights but no, some Africans keep on conducting it and sometimes name it a part of their native culture.
What’s the idea of the virginity test?
First of all, it’s necessary to mention that there’s some logic in the conduction of the virginity test. In Africa, where there are many people infected with HIV/AIDS and other dangerous diseases that are transmitted via intimate contacts being a virgin is a good decision.
On the other hand, being a virgin in the meaning “having an unbroken hymen” is not the best protection from the danger. There are other types of intimate contacts that put girls at the risk of being infected and don’t mean the mental virginity.
What’s more, the virginity test is a very rough way to detect virginity of a certain girl. The shape it currently has allows making very approximate decisions regarding the physical virginity of a girl or its absence. This testing is not only humiliating for a woman’s dignity but can also bring her a lot of negative consequences.
Still, many young women in Africa believe that if they are officially determined as virgins they can have better prospects in life. They suppose that virginity will help them find husbands or that they will have better chances of building a career.
Some women try to discipline their daughters, sending them to pass the test every month. This is, they claim a way to teach them to respect their bodies and learn how to be proud of their bodies while they are virgins.
It’s sad to admit but the virginity testing in its present form exists in many countries all around the world, not only in Africa, and it’s even sadder that people give so much meaning to the physical signs of virginity. Why does it still exist? Let’s see.
How virginity test is done
As soon as this testing is treated as an ancient and sacred tradition, there’s an entire ritual around it. Elder women who conduct the test usually do some singing, dancing, and also feed the girls with explanations of why being a virgin is so good.
They teach the girls that it’s a good habit not to let men touch their bodies, to feel pride for being intact, to build up self-esteem, and learn to be a woman. Women who belong to the Zulu nation usually see such ceremonies as important and worthy of celebration.
There are different ways to conduct the test. The main idea is to check the wholeness of the hymen and detect signs of womanly development that allegedly starts after a girl loses her virginity with a man. This is why methods are quite different.
In some places, the examiners simply undertake a visual examination, others use liquids that are supposed to be stopped by the hymen. Sometimes, the examiners check the tightness of girls’ intimate muscles, the firmness of their bodies and the flatness of their abdomens.
In most cases, girls have nothing against the test, especially if they are still very young and don’t fully understand what’s going on. However, there are cases when relatives of girls do the testing on their own to prevent negative consequences.
The point is that young girls in Africa are often raped at a very young age. Being no longer virgins, they cannot pass the tests with others without being condemned as jezebels. This is why their mothers or grandmothers do the test at home. Another reason why adult female relatives do this is fact that girls are often raped at such a young age that they cannot even complain of being molested.
Sometimes, girls admit that instead of going through the test with its roughly trustworthy results, they would rather be educated about the intimate contacts by their mothers or grandmothers to be able to make their own choice in life.
Virginity testing should be banned: yes or no?
Yes, it should be banned because its results are too rough to be taken as truth and the consequences of such a testing can be as negative as the loss of virginity itself. Let’s make things clear now about the test and its results.
If a girl is a virgin, she can go free and enjoy her official status that’s supposed to give her a better future. If a girl is tested and is determined as a non-virgin, the consequences can be dreadful. She can be abused, humiliated, offended, and excommunicated from the society.
The girls who have a more modern world outlook often feel angry and offended about these tests procedures. As soon as they are performed by perfect strangers it’s a humiliation when a strange person touches your private parts and then voices out an opinion, which can be false as it is.
Girls are individuals with their own mind, why not give them a chance to choose for themselves? It’s better to provide a good and profound sexual education that shows: intimate topics are not a taboo and they can be discussed. Knowing about contraception will reduce the risks and give girls the freedom they deserve.
Many girls are ready to be virgins for themselves, because of their own free will. The tes kills the very idea of the free will and turns human beings into puppets that must be controlled in every way. It’s a total disrespect and dishonor.
The truth about virginity test
To build up a solid opinion regarding virginity test, it’s necessary to say why the results it provides are so rough and should not be trusted. In other words, there are other means to check whether a girl is healthy and not molested, which give better results and cause no humiliation.
The first and foremost thing about the virginity test is the fact that it checks the wholeness of the hymen, a piece of tissue in a virgin’s genitals. This piece of tissue has as little connection to the virginity as possible and this one reason could be enough to stop the disrespectful practice of examining girls.
Here are several facts about the physical part of the examination, which make it totally senseless:
- The hymen can look torn from the very birth of a baby girl because of the individual built
- The hymen can have a big natural opening like it has been widened during an intimate contact
- Sometimes, the hymen is completely absent from the very birth of a baby girl
- Sometimes, the hymen can be ruined by physical activity or the usage of menstrual tampons
- Sometimes, the hymen is not ruined during the first intimate contact
All these facts are never taken into account and girls keep on suffering from the humiliation.
In the 21st century, there should be no place for the inhuman and disrespectful virginity test in African culture. Still, in some African regions, girls are paid money for remaining virgins and passing the test. What’s more, the tradition seems to flourish mostly due to the ignorance of parents who indulge the testing and try to intimidate their daughters instead of teaching them how to live a safe and happy into their adult lives.
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