Egypt: Military Vows to End Practice of "Virginity Testing"
Thursday, June 30, 2011 10:50 AM

Seventeen women were detained in the Egyptian uprising in Tahrir Square in March, and were later subjected to abuse including beating and forced “virginity testing”. Amnesty International wrote to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in regards to the virginity testing but did not receive a response. However, Major General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with Amnesty International in Cairo this month and vowed to end the practice of virginity testing.

In the past, the Egyptian military has defended virginity testing by portraying the practice as protection for the officers from rape allegations by female detainees. In response to this approach Amnesty International stated: “Subjecting women to such degrading procedures hoping to show that they were not raped in detention makes no sense, and was nothing less than torture.  The government should now provide reparation to the victims, including medical and psychological support, and apologise to them for their treatment.”

In the meeting with Amnesty International, Major General al-Sisi stated that virginity testing will no longer be conducted. In the future, he stated, the military will try to avoid detaining women. He also acknowledged that the entire culture of Egyptian security forces needs to be changed. He has instructed officers not to use violence against demonstrators and not to abuse detainees. These declarations will be tested on July 8th when a large demonstration is planned. Amnesty International remarked that the actions of the Egyptian authorities will be more powerful then their words.

Compiled From: Egypt: Military pledges to stop forced ‘virginity tests’, Amnesty International, WUNRN,  (27 June 2011).