Would you believe that Virginity test still exists in India? Is practising the ritual of a virginity test, not oppressive and degrading? Are there any laws that ban virginity tests as a proof of a new bride’s honour?
In times of the 21st century when the nation is working towards globalisation and liberalisation, there is a part of Pune city, India, that is still regressive and oppressive towards its women folk. Till date, there is a ritual followed in Pune’s Pimpri-Chinchwad area that demands the test of a woman’s virginity.
According to the ritual, newly weds are handed a white sheet on their wedding night. As per the orders of the panchayat, the couple is supposed to have intercourse on the white sheet for confirmation on the bride’s intact virginity. The virginity test is a way to keep the women of the village from engaging in so called ‘illicit activities’. In case the woman is found ‘broken’ then the council announces punishment for her which may include beating as well as a monetary fine. An enquire is also conducted in order to find out about the person she lost her virginity to.
In order to protest against the regressive ritual, a new campaign called ‘Stop the V Ritual’ has taken birth. The campaign initially started in December last year with the creation of a WhatsApp group by the same name. Priyanka, a 26 year old participant of the campaign said the ritual is an ‘assault against the dignity of women’. She added that there is not even a single marriage in the community that takes place without the virginity test. She questioned if the panchayat had a similar test to test the virginity of the man. Any woman opposing the test is automatically termed as a loose woman.
3 Thrashed For Opposing The Virginity Test Ritual
On January 21 this year, three men opposing the virginity test ritual in the Pimpri-Chinchwad area were beaten up by a mob of 40 men. While four of the five accused have been arrested, the police is on a lookout for the remaining individuals from the mob.