Maharashtra Makes Virginity Tests Illegal. About Time, We Say
Maharashtra, in a landmark move just abolished the custom of virginity tests and deemed it illegal and a form of sexual assault. And we honestly, apart from being relieved by the verdict, are totally appalled for it being there in the first place.
For the ones who’re caught unaware, this is in reference to the unnerving (and ghastly) custom of running a virginity test on new brides on the wedding night, to determine whether they’re pure. Before you protest this tradition, know that the virginity test was conducted on extremely scientific grounds. It required married couples to consummate the marriage in a room with a white sheet spread on the bed, while the village council officials and their families would wait outside to find out whether or not the girl bled during the intercourse. And if not, the groom would be allowed to annul the marriage, claiming that the woman was ‘impure’.
This was a custom that was prevalent, though thankfully falling out of a favour. The Kanjarbhat community from Maharashtra is said to have followed this practise with instances of forced virginity tests emerging. The NCW Chairperson, Ms Rekha Sharma termed the practice to be regressive, misogynistic and in violation of basic human rights and dignity.
We’re in 2019. And while many steps have been taken in the right direction, we continue to hold virginity in the highest regard putting the community/family/caste’s respect between a woman’s legs. Surely we can find things that will better occupy our time, right?