India’s “2-finger” rape test should be banned, says panel

India's notorious "two finger test" used to verify the claims of alleged rape victims should be abolished, a high-powered government committee recommended.

If implemented, the ban would stop forensic doctors from supposedly verifying whether a victim has been raped by judging the ease with which two fingers can be inserted into her vagina — a traumatic examination that the government panel decried as "archaic and outdated" as well as "unscientific and degrading," according to the Times of India.

The committee — a working group formed by the Planning Commission — also suggested that child victims of sexual abuse should not be made to give statements repeatedly to the police and other legal authorities, because the continual reliving of the event amplified its traumatic effects. Instead, the law should allow expert witnesses like child psychologists and doctors to depose on their behalf, the paper said.

According to India's National Family Health Survey, one-third of women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence, and approximately one in 10 have suffered some form of sexual violence, the paper said. Meanwhile, a study of data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows that the number of crimes against women increased by 29.6% between 2006 and 2010 — though that increase may reflect a greater willingness to report the crimes from the victims or from the police to register a complaint.

However, as the barbaric two-finger test suggests, there are still conditions and policies in place that seem designed to discourage victims from seeking justice.  This egregious and barbaric example cannot be abolished quickly enough.

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