Young People in India Fight to Ban Forced Virginity Tests for Newlyweds in Nomadic Tribal Community

Campaigners call for other young people in the community to make a stand against ‘conspiracy of silence’ Reuters

Campaigners are fighting to stop brides from a nomadic tribal group in India being forced to take “humiliating” virginity tests.

Women in the Kanjarbhat community, in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, are often forced to undergo a “virginity test“ on their wedding night to prove they are virtuous, the BBC reported.

The test has been a keystone of the tribal wedding ceremony, but young people in the community of roughly 200,000 people have now begun to protest the practice.

The test reportedly requires couples to consummate the marriage in a hotel room on a white sheet, while village council officials and their families wait outside.

If the woman does not bleed during intercourse, grooms are allowed to annul the marriage, claiming their wives have not “proven” their purity.

The leader of the campaign to abolish the practice, Vivek Tamaichekar, said it was ”regressive” and a “complete violation of a couple’s privacy”.

“The way it is done is very crude and traumatising,” the 25-year-old said. ”They are forced to consummate the marriage with many people sitting outside the room, and the groom is often given alcohol and shown pornography in order to ‘educate’ him.”

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SOURCE: The Independent, Lucy Pasha-Robinson