Undercover footage reveals how doctors are carrying out ‘virginity tests’ on Swedish girls against their will because their religious families want to prove they haven’t had sex
Undercover footage has revealed how doctors are carrying out ‘virginity tests’ on Swedish girls against their will – because their religious families want to prove they haven’t had sex.
Reporters wearing hidden cameras approached doctors in cities across Sweden and asked them whether they would be willing to carry out the examinations.
Human rights experts have called the revelation ‘shocking’ while one young victim likened her ordeal to ‘torture’.
Swedish television station TV4 said teenagers are being forced to undergo tests by their own families ahead of marriage to prove that they have not had sex before.
Producers used two undercover journalists acting as an aunt and her 17-year-old niece to expose the scandal, which has caused outrage in the country.
Footage shows the ‘aunt’ asking a doctor to test her niece – despite protests from the teenager that she does not want one.
The aunt also asks the doctor to write a virginity certificate, according to the Kalla Fakta (Cold Fact), current affairs programme.
In another scene from the documentary, a doctor insists she has done ‘hundreds’ of virginity tests, even on children.
A third actress plays the role of an actual victim – too frightened to reveal her true identity – who has described the test carried out by her doctor as ‘torture’.
‘Sara’ was 13 when her deeply religious Christian family forced her to get engaged to her cousin. Her parents made her have the test when she was 15.
Describing her ordeal, she tells the interviewer: ‘I still feel ashamed because no-one can see the truth.
‘I don’t know what other people think, but there’s nothing that proves anything that someone should examine me to see if I’m a virgin. It feels really disgusting.’
Swedish politicians are so concerned with the findings that they have reportedly vowed to take it up at the European Parliament.
Liesl Gerntholtz from Human Rights Watch said she was ‘shocked’ when she was shown the tape.
‘In a country that internationally has played a leading role in protecting women’s human rights, it was almost unthinkable to me that this would be happening in a country like Sweden,’ she said.
A spokesman from TV4 said such tests were being performed in many countries across the world.
She added: ‘This has caused a storm of protest and has been much debated over the last couple of days in Sweden.
‘The problem with virginity tests comes from the myth of the hymen- membrane in the female reproductive tract – that does not exist.’
The story was shown in Sweden, Norway and Denmark via TV4 Sweden