lifestyle

There is no such thing as an "intact" hymen. So why are some women forced to undergo "virginity tests"?

“Virginity tests” for women are still a thing in some countries despite being sexist, unscientific and gross.

But now medical ethicists say Doctors should refuse to carry out virginity tests because they violate women’s basic human rights.

Writing in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet, a group of US medical ethicists have called on doctors to step in and stop the arcane practice.

They say doctors should refuse to perform the test because it’s based on a flawed scientific premise and is incompatible with three of the core professional ethics of doctors: protecting patient welfare, respecting women’s autonomy, and promoting justice.

“Virginity testing does not protect and promote the health of female patients; virginity testing is therefore completely incompatible with each of these three principles of professional ethics in obstetrics and gynecology,” Laurence McCullough, an ethics and health policy researcher at Baylor College of Medicine and a co-author the essay, told Reuters.

Virginity tests promote the idea that women’s worth is linked to their sexuality. And THEY HAVE NO MERIT.

Do you know what your hymen looks like?

If you’re picturing a thin membrane stretched taught across your vagina, sort of like glad wrap over a bowl or one of those AFL banners the players run through, try again.

In reality your hymen is more like a stretchy ring of tissue that covers some, but almost never all, of the entry to the vagina.

It’s actually more like a doughnut, but no two are the same. And it wears away differently for everyone.

Watch: What is the hymen anyway? (Post continues after video)

Video via College Humor

So when you first have sex there’s no “breakthrough”. And even if you do bleed or feel a bit of pain, that’s not something that should always be chalked up to your hymen tearing.

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Anxiety and not being relaxed can also cause those things.

But despite this being the scientific fact, there are plenty of people who still think of hymens as a reliable measure of a women’s virginity, and some countries make women submit to “virginity tests” which are as intrusive and unpleasant as they sound.

In one high profile case, cartoonist Atena Farghadani was forced to undergo a virginity test while imprisoned in Iran.

Let’s hope doctors around the world step up and refuse to do this test in the future.

It is 2016 people.

The hymen isn’t a thing.

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