Most countries in the Middle East have a notorious history of treating women as second class citizens. There is now even more reason to believe that women are being held to unfair standards in a male dominated society.
In Iraq, some women are now being ordered by court to take a virginity test. In most Middle Eastern societies, women are expected to remain a virgin until marriage. Sexual activity before tying the knot is considered a dishonor to the family. In more traditional villages, some women are even killed by a male relative if it is discovered that she had engaged in premarital sex.
In the Baghdad Medical Legal Institute, women are being taken into a windowless room where tests are being done to prove or disprove their virginity.
Most women are admitted when the husband suspects his wife of not being a virgin. He then takes the matter to court where a judge can order the women to undergo a virginity test.
Aside from the women, the husband may also be tested for erectile dysfunction. Often times, the man will accuse his wife of not being a virgin in order to deflect attention away from his own shame.
If the test shows that the woman is indeed not a virgin, then there is no law to protect her. Her family would also then be required to repay for all gifts and expenses given during the courtship.
The human rights organization, Amnesty International, is currently looking into the matter and has described the virginity testing as a violation of human rights. The group has also said that the tests can be inaccurate at times.
In a culture where family honor is everything, women’s rights are being trampled on through these virginity tests. It is degrading and further illustrates that women are still being viewed as inferior to their male counterparts.