In India, over 18 States use the finger test as the means to test whether a girl has been raped or not. It is on this test that the doctors testify their reports and the court of Law passes judgement. This test has come under fire for being outdated and assaulting a woman’s character much after she has been raped. It casts a doubt on moral grounds on the woman and has been responsible for wrong/biased judgements by defense counsels. I was appalled when I read the following excerpt in a research reported in Human Rights Watch: “In cases of very young girls – girls below [age] 12 or 13 – they [police officers and hospital staff] believe it is a case of sexual abuse. But if they are older, then they believe that the girl is trying to falsely frame someone. Their belief changes the way they address the survivors. They are very rude and disrespectful. They will say things like, “Why are you crying?” “You have only been raped.” “You are not dead.” “Go sit over there.” And order them around.”, said Dr. Rajat Mitra, Director, Swanchetan, NGO that provides counseling services to rape survivors. It is dignity on trial when the archaic finger test is conducted on rape victims in forensic labs by doctors least thoughtful of the trauma already borne by the victim. Though the Supreme Court has ruled that the results of a ‘finger test’ cannot be used against a woman, and that a rape survivor’s ‘habituation to sexual intercourse’ is immaterial, this ‘unscientific, inhuman and degrading’ test is still widely used in India, said the report. What is the finger test?
The finger test involves a doctor inserting fingers in a rape victim’s vagina to determine the presence or absence of the hymen and the so-called “laxity” of the vagina. Appalling it is to discover that most doctors report and co-relate the ‘pain felt by victim’ during the finger test to judge whether the victim is a ‘habituated to sex’ (lesser the pain-looser the morals) thus pointing a finger on her character. Why...
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