A “failed” virginity test prompted a man to leave his wife, but the couple later reconciled. The two live in Maharashtra, India’s third largest state, and the panchayat, a governing body of the caste system, made the annulment ruling after the husband presented white sheets that were not stained with blood after the couple consummated the marriage.
Upon the ruling, the 25-year-old groom’s marriage was invalidated. Arjun Karale married his second wife, Abhiyekar-Karale, 20, in May. The rejection was certain to bring shame upon her and her family.
Per the Times of India, social workers from the Maharashtra Women’s Commission, Ranjana Gavande and Krishna Chandgude, stated that the young woman had spent time preparing for admittance to the police force and was involved in strenuous exercises, such as running, jumping, and bike riding, all possible explanations for not bleeding on her wedding night. They, also, said a police complaint would be filed if a Thursday meeting with the panchayat didn’t produce a workable solution to the marriage issue.
— 50 Million Missing (@50millionmissin) June 2, 2016
The groom is from the city of Nashik, and the Women’s Commission asked for a police report on the incident. Both the wife and the husband are members of the “Kanjarbhat” community, which has its own set of rules, similar to a constitution, and it is strictly followed. Virginity in women is highly valued, and members of the panchayat wait outside after the wedding for a bloodstained cloth to be presented, which is part of the virginity test and, supposedly, serves as proof that the woman is a virgin.
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The day after the wedding, the woman and her mother tried to file a police report. The father responded by taking away his daughter’s cell phone and locking both the girl and her mother inside the house. It was later disclosed that the father was afraid of the panchayat.
Later, the husband said the virginity test was performed at the request of the wife’s family. The Women’s Commission chairperson, Vijaya Rahatkar, said there is no family of a bride who would cause their daughter to endure this type of humiliation. Per the Hindustan Times, Rahatkar said after negotiations, the bride was willing to forgive.
“The girl has said that if her husband comes to take her back, she is ready to live with him.”
Abhiyekar-Karale didn’t speak about possible retribution from the caste government. Gavande stated that the woman and her family are now under social pressure from the Kanjarbhat. Although the girl did not file a complaint, the family is afraid that their reputation will be negatively impacted. There are two sisters and a brother who aren’t married yet, and their prospects might be affected by the current dilemma.
Women’s Commission members met with the couple and both of their families at the police station. While the bride chose not to file a complaint about the virginity test and annulment which followed it, the groom asked for forgiveness. The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ajay Devare, stated that Yogita doesn’t want to be involved in legalities and offered Yogita protection. Arjun presented a written statement that she won’t be threatened and will be allowed to live in his home, per the Times of India.
“We follow all our traditions. The caste panchayat is very important so I followed their decision. But today, I asked her to forgive me and she did. So we will live as husband and wife forever.”
Man (read scum) divorces wife for failing virginity test.Where’s the Hindu moral outrage brigade when you need them? https://t.co/a95uQHCbMA
— Chirpy Says (@IndianPrism) June 4, 2016
The concept behind a virginity test is that a woman who has never had sexual intercourse will have an intact hymen. Medically, the hymen is a fold of mucous membrane, which partially closes the opening of the vagina. When it is penetrated for the first time, it is forced to open, and often results in bleeding. This is not always the case because it can be stretched gradually when exercise is performed. There are also women who are born without a hymen.
[Photo by Yogita/Wikimedia Commons]