By Debora MacKenzie. Doctors, police and employers should be banned from using so-called virginity tests on women and girls, and those who continue to use them should be prosecuted, the World Health Organization has declared. Such tests are used around the world in rape investigations and even in hiring women for certain professions. Another study found that hymen inspection accurately identified less than 10 per cent of the women who had experienced penetration. In South Africa , girls who fail virginity tests may be ostracised, and some employers have held policies of only hiring women who pass. Some attempt suicide; others are killed by their families.
Children who have been raped some years back may have hymenal scars. However, medical professionals are not accustomed in assessing these scars because of the lack of experience in performing physical examinations of the external genitalia of children who suffered from rape some years back. Moreover, the importance of physical examination of the victim's external genitalia is sometimes overlooked. Two cases of rape victims with hymenal scars who visited Daegu Child Sexual Abuse Response Center several years after their first sexual abuse along with a literature review are presented here. Child sexual abuse is a sexual crime against children aged less than 13 years. Rape is defined as committing forced sexual intercourse by violence or threat [ 1 ]. Children lack the capacity to consent; therefore, heavy sentences are imposed on the offenders, regardless of consent. Nevertheless, the Korean Criminal Procedure Act is based on the evidence submitted during the trials [ 2 ] and the physical evidence that supports the victim's statement is crucial in proving the crime committed by the defendant. Medical professionals provide not only medical treatment for the physical injuries on the external genitalia of children who are rape victims but also evidence that can conclusively prove the act of rape by thoroughly documenting the details of the physical trauma. In cases of child victims who seek medical attention within 72 hours after rape, medical professionals can diagnose and treat the acute injuries of the genital organs.
Related Editorial. Child victims of sexual abuse may present with physical findings that can include anogenital problems, enuresis or encopresis. Behavioral changes may involve sexual acting out, aggression, depression, eating disturbances and regression. Because the examination findings of most child victims of sexual abuse are within normal limits or are nonspecific, the child's statements are extremely important.