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LHC abolishes virginity tests for sexual assault victims

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An AFP representational image.

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Monday abolished virginity tests for examination of sexual assault survivors and declared it “illegal and against the Constitution”. 

A single bench led by Justice Ayesha A Malik announced the judgment in a set of petitions filed in March and June 2020 by rights activists and a PML-N lawmaker.

The 30-page verdict observed that the two-finger test (TFT) and hymen test have no medical basis or forensic value in cases of sexual violence. It declared that virginity tests “offend the personal dignity of the female victim and therefore is against the right to life and right to dignity enshrined in Article 9 and 14 of the Constitution”.

The judgment said virginity test are discriminatory against female victims as they are carried out on the basis of their gender therefore violating Article 25 (equality of citizens) of the Constitution.

The court has directed the federal and provincial governments to devise appropriate medico-legal protocols and guidelines along with standard operating procedures in line with international practice that recognize and manage sensitively the care of victims of sexual violence. 

“This included regular training and awareness programmes so that all stakeholders understand that virginity tests have no clinical or forensic value.”

Read the full judgment here:

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