‘A woman’s value is placed on her hymen’ – Isn’t it infuriating to think so? Much of our society has objectified women for too long. And this thought is prevalent even today. How else would one explain the practice of “virginity tests”?
For those who do not know, many newly married women are forced to undergo ‘virginity tests’ to see whether she is a virgin on the night of ‘suhaag raat’ before sexual intercourse takes place between the bride and the groom. In 2019, the Maharashtra government had announced that such a practice is nothing but “sexual assault” and worked towards making it a punishable offence.
However, two years later, two sisters from Maharashtra’s Kolhapur, who got married last year, were divorced by their husbands after they allegedly “failed” the virginity test, reports News18. The two women belong to the Kanjarbhat community, where such patriarchal practices are considered normal.
The two sisters underwent the “white sheet test” (on the couple’s first night, they are made to have sexual intercourse on a white sheet. If there are bloodstains on the sheet after the act, the woman is said to have ‘passed’ the test) which the two failed. The sisters were then sent back to their parents’ house by their in-laws.
One of the victims said, “About the virginity test, they (in-laws) asked us to get ready and have dinner. Their relatives were present at the spot. The beds were ready with white sheets but I had no idea they were planning this. I didn’t bleed so they alleged that I wasn’t of a good character. My husband used to threaten me that he will ask someone to rape me in Belgaum. He said if I have any self-pride left I should go home or die by suicide or they will force me to commit suicide,” she added.
The sisters further alleged that they were physically tortured by their in-laws, who asked the women’s family for a dowry of Rs 10 lakhs to “make amends”. Later, the community panchayat held a meeting and granted divorce to the two couples. They also called for a boycott of the two women.
The two sisters have now lodged an FIR against the husbands and their families in the matter. A case has been registered against the panchayat as well, reports DNA.
When will society stop practising such regressive customs?