Friday, June 03, 2011


Virginity checks

The CNN report where members of the Egyptian army admitted to conducting virginity checks on female protesters took me back to my teen years. Back then one of the threats issued by adults was a visit to the doctor to be checked for "chasteness". This was an indication of how zealously mothers guarded their daughters virginity, cognizant of societal standards that said "you keep your heifer home, while allowing your bulls to roam".

Additionally, a pregnant daughter was a source of great embarrassment to the family. Unfortunately, sex education in most cases was couched in either vague terms or threats to life and limb if girls strayed from the straight and narrow.I don't recall ever being issued, my threats were more subtle but enough to give you pause. However, several of my friends,tired of being labelled as sexually active, took it further and demanded their mothers take them to prove their innocence. I often wondered how these checks were even a possibility. It seems to me that the unfortunate girl would have to be a compliant partner. Wild horses would have had to literally drag me, restrain me and anesthetize me before any such procedure could take place.

The report was distasteful on so many levels. The attitude towards women's sexuality was as dated as it was frightening but sadly not surprising. Read the following quotes attributed to the perpetrators:

"We didn't want them to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren't virgins in the first place"

What am I missing here? Isn't the definition of rape sex without consent? So could somebody please explain to me why these idiots are associating rape with virginity?. Wait I know, it's totally impossible for a non virgin to be raped.

It gets worse:

"The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine.These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protestors in Tahir Square and we found in the tents Molotov cocktails and drugs."

How lovely! There you have it.You can't blame the poor soldiers because after all the girls forced their hands.Those girls were just begging to be stripped and searched. Hmmm, where have I heard variations on this before? Oh I remember,it goes something like this: Did you see the short skirt she wore? Where she was going that late? Does she not know men she is tempting the men? Yes,I've heard it so many times.

In all of this I wonder if these virginity checkers realise that a virginity check is simply a nice way of saying sexual assault?

To force a woman or young girl to undergo a virginity check should be outlawed for so many reasons. We are not animals, that we should have to cover up who we are to prevent being labeled or worse sexually assaulted. What we need is more respect for women, but as long as we are treated as the lesser spiecs, unfortunately it will not end.
Reminds of the case of an 11 yr old girl who was gang raped by 18 boys and men, ranging in age 14 to 26. Shockingly some in the Texas town where the INCIDENTS (prosecutors say she was allegedly assaulted several times) allegedly took place, have suggested the girl was perhaps a willing participant, saying she was seen provocatively dressed and wearing makeup around the town. #smh
I am just speechless. What an atrocity.
Oh Abeni, thanks for posting this. Though sadly I always seem to come back to your blog on 'sad issues'

I agree with what you said and pray for a day when we do not see stories like this.
Thanks for informing. This is obviously out of order and disgusting. Sad to think this kind of mentality exists..still.
Praying for the day that these atrocities will be eradicated
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