The findings of an analysis conducted on the state of child protection mechanism in Rajasthan has found that in several cases, there were references to two finger tests in medical examination of child sexual victims.
In October, the Supreme Court had termed the ‘two finger test’ on alleged rape victims regressive and held that anyone indulging in it will be guilty of misconduct.
The study, titled ‘Analysis of the response of the child protection system to violence against children in Rajasthan’ was conducted under the aegis of the Juvenile Justice Committee (JJC) of the Rajasthan High Court in collaboration with Resource Institute for Human Rights (RIHR) and UNICEF Rajasthan.
“In several cases, the medical examination report included references to the ‘two finger test’, and conclusions that the victim was ‘habituated to sex’ and that there were no signs of rape or sexual assault, contrary to the normative standards on the contents of a medical examination report,” says the analysis.
The analysis adds that the medical examination reports stated that, during examination it was seen that two fingers could be easily inserted into the victim’s vagina.
The analysis, which was officially released on November 20 at the Rajasthan Police Academy on the occasion of World Children’s Day, was conducted between July and December 2021 and lays down trends of violence against children in the years 2019 and 2020.
“The continued use of the two finger test, conclusions that the victim was ‘habituated to sex’ and that there were no signs of rape or sexual assault, are contrary to the normative standards on contents of a medical examination report. There is also a wide variation in the manner in which medical age determination is conducted. This calls for integration of recent legal developments in the curriculum and capacity building programs aimed at medical students and practitioners,” says the analysis.
The two finger test, carried out by a medical practitioner, involves the examination of the victim’s vagina to check if she is habituated to sexual intercourse. The practice is unscientific and does not provide any definite information. Moreover, such ‘information’ has no bearing on an allegation of rape.
“The so-called test is based on the incorrect assumption that a sexually active woman cannot be raped. Nothing could be further from the truth — a woman’s sexual history is wholly immaterial while adjudicating whether the accused raped her,” the SC had said.
A handbook released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on dealing with sexual assault victims says, “There is no place for virginity (or ‘two-finger’) testing; it has no scientific validity.”
The analysis also notes that although the POCSO Act empowers the special courts to determine the quantum of compensation, this was rarely exercised in Rajasthan and recommendations were instead made to the District Legal Service Authority (DLSA) to decide on compensation.
“This results in child victims having to appear before another forum and go through several procedural formalities to access compensation. Clarifications on the mandate of the special courts to determine compensation will help ensure that children receive timely support that can aid their rehabilitation,” says the analysis.