Though virginity tests are considered normal in some societies, they are defined by WHO as a violation of human rights, and they have psychological, physical and social indications on the victim, long term and short term.
In this article, four Nigerian women talk about taking virginity tests.
When I was 19, I noticed blood on my pants when I wasn’t on my period. I told my mum about it and she decided to take me to the hospital. My mum was with me during the test. She said something I couldn’t hear to the doctor and he responded with, “If I go further, I’ll break her vaginal lining.” She smiled when he said that. A sour feeling spread across my body. I felt violated.
Since then, my parents have been monitoring every inch of my life. I can’t go out by myself. I need to have someone with me. I know my parents were worried because two of my cousins got pregnant and they don’t want me to disgrace them.
When I was 11, someone started a rumour about me and a boy in my class that they saw us smooching. My housemistress told my parents. The night I returned home for the holidays, my mum asked me to open my legs and tried to insert an egg into my vagina. My dad watched from the corner of the room. When it didn’t enter, she explained that if the egg had entered, she would have known that I am not a virgin. She did this for two terms. Now that I think about it, it’s probably why I’m always uncomfortable when anybody is trying to inspect my vagina, whether it’s during sex, foreplay or hospital visits.
When I was eight, my mom took me to the hospital because she saw me walking funny and thought something had happened. The doctor put a cotton swab in my vagina. I felt weird as my mum watched. The results revealed nothing so they asked me questions. It turned out I was walking like that because of the friction between my thighs.
Two years ago, I took another virginity test for school. The woman used her hands to check. I don’t know which one felt worse, to be honest.
When I was 13, I left my hostel and went to my friend’s house. A few of my other friends were there, plus the girl I liked. We all had JAMB to write the next day. The idea was to unwind before the exam. It was also my dad’s birthday so he called my school to check on me but I was nowhere to be found. That’s how the school authorities found out that most of the SS3 girls were not around. The news got back to us and in a bid to save the situation, I called my parents and told them I didn’t know where I was. LOL. My dad played along and directed me to school where he was waiting for me.
The moment he saw me, I received slaps upon slaps. I don’t know how I even entered the car but at home, the beating continued with a belt. Then he asked my mum to check if I was still a virgin. Luckily, I had not had sex. I spread out my legs for my mum to check. After a few minutes, she said, “You are wet.” I didn’t really understand what that meant then. Everything felt weird and I just wanted to disappear.
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