Monday, January 02, 2006
Virginity Testing vs AIDS
Ellen Elmendorp for The New York Times
Jabu Mdlalose, front, and elders in Lamontville, tested a girl and decided she was not a virgin.
Is virginity testing still right for young African women as a right of passage? The debate simmers as traditional elders denote this and other practices as right for the modern age while other decry the practices as unscientific and out of touch with modern women's rights norms.
" To many Zulus, such virginity tests are a revered custom, one that discourages early sex and, after falling into disuse, has been revived to fight the spread of H.I.V. But to many advocates of women's and children's rights, the practice is unscientific, discriminatory and - to girls who are publicly and perhaps falsely accused of having lost their virginity - emotionally searing. This month, their arguments persuaded South Africa's Parliament to ban some virginity testing, with violations punishable by up to 10 years in prison."