Virginity testing through ‘two fingers test’ is an obsolete method which is unscientific and harmful
Government opposes two fingers test for rape victims in Pakistan. The two fingers test is form of virginity testing. It involves testing for laxity of vaginal muscles with fingers (the “two-finger test”). A doctor performs the test by inserting a finger into the female’s vagina to check the level of vaginal laxity. It is used to determine if she is “habituated to sexual intercourse”.
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Presently, a Writ Petition is pending in the Lahore High Court, Lahore wherein, inter alia, a declaration is sought that the two-finger test in relation to rape/sexual assault cases is unconstitutional. Therefore, the Ministry of Law and Justice has given instructions to its Additional Attorney-General at Lahore.
What Pakistani Government says on Two Finger Test for Rape Victims
The instructions are as under:-
(i) that the two-finger test is inconclusive;
(ii) the said two-finger test and the manner in which it is conducted is against Article 14 of the Constitution which prescribes the fundamental right of “dignity of man”;
(iii) previously, Article 151(4) of the Qanoon-e-Shahadat Order, 1984 permitted the accused to challenge the character of a victim of rape/sexual assualt, as a defence. Through section 16 of Act No.XLIV of 2016, Article 151(4) of Qanoon-e-Shahadt Order, 1984 has been omitted. One logical conclusion of such omission is that the two-finger test and the manner in which it is carried out, which amounts to challenging the character of a rape/sexual assault victim, cannot be permitted;
(iv) further references have also been invited to the World Health Organization statement and other cases and material from foreign jurisdictions;
(v) in sum and substance especially in view of the statutory amendment pointed out above, the evidentiary value of the two-finger test is highly suspect;
(vi) hence, the two-finger test may not be a part of the medico-legal examination report in a rape/sexual assault case.
Is ‘Two Fingers Test’ Authentic?
It is a very straightforward test: the doctor inserts two fingers in the vagina of the survivor to assess its size and elasticity. Depending on the result, the doctor draws a conclusion on the sexual habits of the survivor. This conclusion is then used in trial in favor of, or (much most likely) against, the testimony of the survivor. If she is considered sexually active – oftentimes deemed an “immoral behavior” – she will lose credibility and the rape case will be discarded. Not only is this conclusion disturbingly wrong but it also reduces the crime of rape to an act of penetration of the vagina. Although in concordance with the legislations of the countries where the test is performed, this highly conservative interpretation of the crime is inconsistent with the reality of its commission. The authenticity of this test is not proven yet.