The two-finger test performed on rape victims for checking their virginity has finally been outlawed by the Indian Health Ministry. The test has been declared unscientific and a demeaning procedure performed on the already brutalized rape victims.
Also termed as the virginity test, it allows the doctors to closely inspect the private parts of the rape victim, particularly the hymen of the woman who claims to have been raped. The test also checks the vaginal laxity and hence allowing the doctor to decide whether the victim is habituated to intercourse or has been forced for sex.
The procedure has been condemned by medical practitioners all across the world and believed to be unreliable.
Adding details to this new ban, Indrajit Khandekar, the head of Clinical Forensic Medicine Unit and an associate professor at Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, stated, “It has been observed that the rape victims are usually put under a horribly judgmental microscope from the moment they call the cops.” He further added, “They are often subjected to judgmental attitudes by doctors and other medical staff in the hospital. The new guidelines include that every hospital must have a designated room to deal with cases of sexual assault to provide privacy to the victim and must have essential equipment listed in the guidelines.”
Based on these guidelines, the rape victims should be supplied with fresh clothing and treated with great sensitivity. Doctors and the entire medical staff dealing with such conditions should attend sensitivity training classes prior.
During the medical examination of the victim, no one apart from the doctor and the team should be present in the room. However, a female can attend the examination if the doctor examining the victim is a male.
The doctor should not use the word ‘Rape’ as it is not a medical condition or a legal definition for the condition.
These guidelines have been designed eight long months after the Supreme Court of India declared the Two-finger Test as a physical violation of the victim’s privacy.
The new medical guidelines were received shortly after the psycho-social impact of sexual violence and victim counseling guidelines were drafted by the Indian Department of Health Research.
Based on this new law, the ministry has ordered all hospitals to set up an ideal room for forensic and related medical examinations of the rape victims.
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