QUESTION: Virginity Testing in Turkey

Sun, 28 Aug 1994 14:36:51 -0500

Date sent: 28-AUG-1994 14:36:27

A couple of months ago, Associated Press ran a story detailing a report of
the New York-based Human Rights Watch denoucing virginity testing on
hospital patients, students, and women in police custody among others. The
implication was that government authorities were conducting these tests.

Checking the bridal bed sheets for blood is a traditional Turkish custom,
people believing that if a woman is not a virgin, the "seed" planted by
another man (and the seed/soil metaphor is major component of Turkish
procreation beliefs) remains in the woman; consequently a husband can never
be sure that a child is his (see Carol Delaney's book, The Seed and the
Soil, U of Cal Press for more details).

My question is: what are Turkish government officials--doctors, police, etc
-- doing getting into the business of virginity testing? I haven't been
able to find anything else on the subject and I was wondering if anybody
knew anything more about the testing or about the Human Rights Watch report
. Thanks,

Richard H. Robbins Bitnet: Robbinrh@snyplava.bitnet
Department of Anthropology Internet:
SUNY at Plattsburgh
Plattsburgh, N.Y. 12901
(518) 564-4006