Human Rights Watch calls for end to 'two-finger test' for rape victims in India

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 31, 2012 06:00 hrs

While India has promised swift justice in the case of the woman who succumbed to her injuries after a brutal gang rape in Delhi, human-rights groups said that the problem is much thornier than punishing the six men accused.

In a report released on Sunday in India, Human Rights Watch pointed to the so-called "two-finger test" as evidence of how India had failed to take rape seriously, often blaming women's behavior for the offense, and called for an end to the test.

Activists said that the country won't make progress in combating rape until there's a wholesale shift in the way men, including those in power, treat woman.

Human rights groups said that Indian women have made it to the tops of their professions in India, but on the peripheries of big cities and rural areas of the nation, women continue to fight for equal rights, and this is reflected in how authorities treat rape victims, the Wall Street Journal reports.

According to the report, in the test, which appears in Indian jurisprudence textbooks and is admissible in court, a doctor inserts two fingers into a women's vagina to determine its laxity and whether the hymen is broken, signaling previous sexual activity, the report said.

According to the report, human-rights groups said that the test perpetuates stereotypes of rape survivors as loose women and often is used by defense counsels to achieve acquittals.

There were 24,206 rape cases registered in India in 2011, according to the National Crimes Record Bureau, the report said.

But the number of convictions of alleged rapists occurred in only a quarter of cases, the statistics show. (ANI)

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