An investigation conducted by undercover Swedish journalists has revealed that doctors in Sweden are performing “virginity tests” on teenage girls against their wishes
The undercover footage shows doctors across Sweden agreeing to perform the illegal virginity tests for families whose religion dictates that women must wait until marriage to have sex. Some families just want to know if their kids are having sex.
Two undercover journalists presented themselves to one doctor as an aunt with her 17-year-old niece. The footage shows the aunt requesting that the doctor perform a virginity test on her niece despite the niece’s protests. The aunt also requested that the doctor write out a “virginity certificate.”
The footage shows the doctor insisting that he has performed “hundreds” of such tests, including some on young children.
Several human rights groups condemn the practice. A member of Human Rights Watch, Liesl Gerntholtz, stated that, “In a country that internationally has played a leading role in protecting women’s human rights, it was almost unthinkable to me that this would be happening in a country like Sweden.”
Gerntholtz pointed out that these type of virginity tests are built on myths about female anatomy.
Many people believe that the membrane across a woman’s vagina opening, called the hymen, remains intact until a woman has sex for the first time. Gerntholtz emphasizes that the hymen can be ruptured by a number of things, including tampon use, injury, disease or physical exercise.
One victim of an unwanted virginity test spoke to the journalists using a fake name. “Sara” said that her religious Christian family forced her to become engaged to her cousin when she was only 13. Her family then made her take a virginity test at the age of 15. She said that, “I still feel ashamed because no-one can see the truth. I don't know what other people think, but there's nothing that proves anything that someone should examine me to see if I’m a virgin. It feels really disgusting.”