Thursday, November 4, 2010

Giving Her the Finger

The most sadistic thing that could be done to a rape victim is for her to be violated again and again after the assault. When that violation is perpetrated by the examining doctors, it is unforgivable. If a woman claims to have been raped and seeks medical assistance in most developed countries and several developing or under developed countries, she will undergo a procedure that allows for forensic evidence to be gathered. A rape kit is used, which most often includes medical swabs for collecting fluids, blood collection devices, forensic glass slides for lab processing and other devices. Most emergency doctors should be trained, with specific guidelines on how to conduct a rape examination, and that training should include bedside manner with a victim of rape, who would be highly sensitive as a result of the trauma she may have incurred. 

In India, however, it has been "normal" practice for doctors to conduct what is known as the finger test on rape victims. This despicable act involves the doctor sticking two of his fingers into the vagina of the victim to determine whether or not her hymen is intact or if she is accustomed to having sex. How this can be accepted as "standard procedure" is beyond my comprehension! Apart from lacking any sensitivity and presuming promiscuity on the part of the victim it also discounts the various possible rape scenarios, including marital rape! Shockingly, these tests are being conducted in huge state hospitals even in the more developed cities and the "evidence" acquired in these tests is admissible in a court of law to discredit and tarnish the woman's character and morality, further violating her. It is no wonder that women who have been victims of rape are so afraid to come forward and give evidence against the perpetrator. There's a long line of perpetrators including the doctors and lawyers!

Human Rights Watch has recently issued a detailed report, calling the finger test inhumane and unscientific. There are civil society campaigns trying to introduce international protocols in evidence collection in rape cases but sadly the fight is still in its infancy.


Ridwan said...

Oh my this "standard procedure" is absolutely inhumane and unacceptable.

I can only imagine how many women just do not report being raped out of fear of being 'raped' again, so to speak.

It has to change.


Anonymous said...

Everytime you think you can't be shocked by anything ...

Sid said...

Thought you might be interested in reading about women's rights in Russia.