Girls try suicide to escape virginity exams

Turkey: Girls try suicide to escape virginity exams

ANKARA–Forced virginity examinations in state-run foster homes have prompted five girls to attempt suicide, thus prompting a national debate about the practice of such examinations. The government’s minister of women’s affairs defends the practice.

The girls, ages 12 to 16, were ordered to undergo the examinations because they returned to their dormitories late at night.

Isilay Saygin, the minister in charge of women’s and family affairs, said that the tests were needed to guide girls` behavior. “If girls commit suicide because of the tests, they would have committed suicide anyway. It is not that important,” a newspaper quoted her as saying. She said that she was misquoted, but she continued to defend the virginity examinations.

However, the government is not unanimous on this point. Human Rights Minister Hikmet Sami Turk has called for a ban on such forced examinations, except in court cases involving sex crimes.

Human Rights Watch reports that there have been forced virginity exams of women political prisoners, other prisoners, and some hospital patients.

–info from Washington Post, 1/27

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