Virginity test’s use as immigration control: UK government’s apology still pending

WION Web Team
London Updated: Feb 04, 2022, 08:27 AM(IST)

The UK government has banned "virginity testing" but has not apologised for using it as ways to control immigration in the past (representative image). Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The "’virginity’ testing involves visual inspection of the hymenal membrane by a medical professional. In some cases, the examination includes a 'two-finger' test to assess the size of the vaginal opening," as per an article on BMJ Global Health. But studies show no test or exam can actually determine accurately about the virginity of a woman

Even after using virginity tests for years as ways to control immigration, the UK government has failed to apologise for the deplorable act.  

The "virginity testing" was made a criminal offence in November 2021. And the government has also added a clause recently to its health and care bill to make "virginity repair" or hymenoplasty surgery illegal in England and Wales.  

All of this has been done but a formal apology is still pending in the case.  

The UK Home Office used to test women as a means of immigration control in the past.  

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The "’virginity’ testing involves visual inspection of the hymenal membrane by a medical professional. In some cases, the examination includes a 'two-finger' test to assess the size of the vaginal opening," as per an article on BMJ Global Health.  

But studies show no test or exam can actually determine accurately about the virginity of a woman.  

So, the idea of such a test is largely sexist.  

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The doctors also believe that the practice is based on misunderstanding about the female body and outdated notions of "purity."  

Richard Holden, a British Parliament member who proposed the changes to the law, told CNN, "I couldn't believe it was still happening or that nobody had taken it up. I knew I had to campaign to change the law."  

The amendments were evidence of a commitment to "safeguard all women and break down the pervasive myths that surround virginity and a woman's sexuality," a spokesperson of the government told CNN.   

(With inputs from agencies) 

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