54 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 27 cm
"Forensic examinations of rape survivors in India are riddled with problems, among them, the continued use of the finger test to gather evidence for investigation and trial. In the finger test, also known as the two-finger test, the doctor notes the presence or absence of the rape survivor's hymen and the size and so-called laxity of the vagina. The test is supposed to assess whether girls and women are 'virgins,' or 'habituated to sexual intercourse.' Yet it does none of this. Unscientific, inhuman, and degrading, the finger test has no forensic value. Furthermore, a woman's past sexual experience has no bearing on whether she consented to the sexual act under investigation. Identifying girls and women as 'habituated to sexual intercourse' perpetuates damaging stereotypes about survivors of rape. Recent Indian legislative changes and binding Supreme Court decisions have helped curtail the use of finger test findings. Yet the results of the finger test continue to inform courtroom proceedings. Dignity on Trial is based on field investigations in Mumbai and Delhi, analysis of High Court judgments across the country, and discussions with experts and activists in India and abroad. It calls upon the Indian government to use the ongoing law reform process to abolish the finger test and to include doctors, police officers, prosecutors, and judges in developing a sensitive and sound national standard for the forensic examination of rape survivors, which respects their rights to therapeutic care, consent, dignity, and the pursuit of justice."--P.  of cover.
"This report was researched and written by Aruna Kashyap, researcher for the Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, with secondary research support from Reena Reddy, intern with the Women's Rights Division, and Chloë Fussell, associate in the Women's Rights Division. The report was edited by Liesl Gerntholtz, director of the Women's Rights Division."--P. 51. "September 2010"--P. following t.p. verso.
Bibliography, etc. Note
Includes bibliographical references.
Formatted Contents Note
Summary and recommendations The finger test Recommendations Methodology Terminology and scope Background The role of forensic evidence in sexual violence trials Problems with forensic evidence and its use in rape trials The use of the "finger test" Archaic theory in practice Perpetuating damaging stereotypes through medico-legal interpretations Undermining the confidence, character, and credibility of rape survivors Defense arguing survivors' consent Medico-legal findings a scientific myth Finger test results in repeated trauma "Habituation to sexual intercourse" legally untenable Finger test violates survivors' rights: an inhuman and degrading practice International law International standards Acknowledgments Appendix.
Also available via the Internet on the Human Rights Watch web site.