Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Virginity tests worry social workers

Virginity tests worry social workers
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 10:10 KM News
Medical association calls on doctors to stop performing tests to prove virginity of young women

Concerns that an increasing number of young Muslim women are being sent to doctors to prove that they are virgins has social workers and doctors taking steps to help them, reports DR News.

Kristina Abu-Khader Aamand, a social worker and the founder of the website NyMødom.dk (New Virginity), said about a third of the 50 or so girls that contacted her each month, asked about virginity examinations.

‘These girls are incredibly afraid of this examination, because many aren’t virgins,’ she said.

The exams are reportedly used by families when seeking a spouse for their daughters.

Aamand said many parents would refuse to allow their son to marry a woman who wasn’t a virgin. Girls that had lost their virginity feared they would be ostracised by their families, she said.

The virginity exam involves a gynaecologist determining if a girl’s hymen is intact. The gynaecologist then reports the results of the examination to the girl’s general practitioner, who issues documentation of the test’s result.

The Danish Medical Association has urged its members not to carry out virginity exams.

Frederiksberg-based general practitioner Dr Sabbir Ahmed said it was wrong for parents to demand their daughters undergo the examination. But he still issued the documentation if could help his patient.

‘If a piece of paper can help a girl, then I’ll issue it. It’s up to me to decide what’s best for my patients.’

‘The girls are under enormous pressure from their families,’ said Ahmed. ‘I can sense that, and that puts pressure on me as a doctor.’

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