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Virginity testing of women accused of 'immorality' is standard procedure in Afghanistan

From a New York Times story by Heather Barr on increasing attacks on the rights of women in Afghanistan: Whenever a woman or girl is arrested on “morality” charges — and sometimes even when she is accused of non-moral crimes such as theft or assault — she is whisked away for a vaginal examination at a government clinic in the province in which she was arrested. There is no opportunity for her to refuse.

Because of frequent mix-ups and general inefficiency, some women are sent for the examination two or three times. The examination, carried out by government doctors, results in a report on whether or not the woman or girl is a “virgin.”

These reports are often used as the sole evidence to support “moral crimes” charges in court, aside from a “confession” taken down by a police officer immediately after the arrest, which is usually signed with a thumbprint by a woman or girl who has no idea what it says[...]

Forcing these women and girls to undergo invasive vaginal examinations, sometimes repeatedly, to ascertain “virginity” as evidence likely to be used against them in criminal proceedings is not only a form of degrading and inhuman treatment strictly prohibited by international law but also a violation of their basic fair trial rights.

All of this would be horrific enough if it weren’t bad science, but it is. “Virginity” tests have no medical validity. A medical examination cannot determine, with any level of accuracy useful to a court, a woman’s sexual history.

In other news, a group of men in India think rape is the result of poor choices made by women: “Wearing the wrong kind of clothes, eating the wrong kind of food, going to the wrong kind of places.”

 

Just the Tip! Virginity in the News: Orthodox sex manuals, John Stamos, Sex and the Citadel & 29-year-old virgins

In a community where unmarried men and women don't touch, and are allowed no access to the internet or even non-religious texts, a long-overdue sex manual for ultra-Orthodox Jews has just been published. We're talking basics, like starting with how men's and women's bodies differ in shape. I really hope "The Newlywed's Guide to Physical Intimacy" will be welcome in this community, because sex and pleasure within marriage is something that is encouraged and celebrated. What I find most-fascinating is the lengths the authors, Dr. David Ribner and Jennie Rosenfeld, have gone to in order to make the process of accessing the information comfortable. From a BBC/PRI article about the book, which also has an audio segment:

In Israel's Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox community, there are manuals written for brides and grooms to be, to help guide them on the subject of intimacy in married life, but they employ allegorical, vague terminology and no explicit how-to instructions on matters of sexual intercourse. So Ribner's book enters uncharted territory. Flip through it though, and you see no illustrations. Instead there is a sealed envelope on the back flap, with a warning to readers that it contains sexual diagrams. If you don't want to look at them, you can rip off the envelope and throw it away.

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Does anyone know if there are sex manuals for newly-married and devout Muslims? Women's ENews just published an excerpt from Shereen El Feki's new book "" Writing about the significance of female virginity, she says:

The Quran makes no mention of the hymen (ghisha' al-bakara in Arabic) per se, but it does talk at length about private parts and the importance of protecting them from view. While virginity is, in principle, gender-neutral in the Quran, female virgins get special billing, the Virgin Mary coming in for particular praise. Then there are the hur, the perpetual virgins of paradise, "maidens restraining their glances, untouched beforehand by man or jinn," whom Muslim men will marry as a reward for a righteous, God-fearing life, so the faithful believe. According to hadith, the Prophet is said to have joked with a newly married companion that he might have had more fun with a virgin than the "mature woman" he took as his wife.

We think the American edition's cover is pretty brilliant. Read the full excerpt here.

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Yahoo is launching a new show called "Losing Your Virginity with John Stamos" which features Stamos interviewing celebrities about their first sexual experiences. Puppets, Barbies and animation will be involved. We're cautiously optimistic about this, but who knows? It doesn't look like the show will involve anyone actually losing their virginity to John Stamos, which is somewhat disappointing considering he's still pretty damn hot.

 

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The new star-laden movie "The Big Wedding" stars Topher Grace playing a 29-year-old virgin, a fact disclosed by a tipsy Diane Keaton on the Ellen show. She followed that by saying she doesn't think there are actually any 29-year-old virgins. Uh, well, maybe not in Hollywood. The trailer is here but FYI, it got 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.