Turkey: Turkey moves to ban virginity tests

Turkish legislators are moving to ban virginity tests for women and introducing jail term for those who carry out such examinations without legal permission.
A legislative amendment to this effect was agreed on Thursday at a session of parliament's justice commission, which has been reviewing changes to the penal code as part of efforts to align Turkish law with European Union norms.
The draft bans virginity tests unless they are demanded by a prosecutor or a judge as evidence in criminal cases, sources said.

If a woman is subjected to such an examination without judicial permission, the persons who have forced her to undergo the test and the medics who have performed it will be punishable with a jail term of between three months and one year.

Testing women and teenage girls has been quite common among the conservative and pious masses in Turkey's rural parts, where virginity is seen as a matter of family honour.

But in 1999 the justice ministry issued a circular restricting the practice to gathering evidence in court cases after five girls attempted suicide in a state-run orphanage after being forced to undergo the tests because they had returned late to their boarding house.