Nadine Dorries MP
Minister for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health
Department of Health and Social Care
39 Victoria Street
Sent via email
Wednesday, 14 July 2021
Re. Hymenoplasty and virginity testing
Ahead of the publication of the Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy, I am writing to urge you to recommend a full legislative ban on hymenoplasty and virginity testing. This abhorrent practice has no place in our society, but so many women and girls still fall victim to it.
Following your answer to my Written Questions on the matter, it is disappointing that your department does not hold any data on the number of women and girls who have been subjected to hymenoplasty and virginity testing. Without a full understanding of the scale of the problem, I am concerned that the necessary steps to tackle it will not be taken. I therefore ask if you will share with me any assessment you have made on the scale of the issue and what factors are feeding into the decision on what recommendations to make in the Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy.
The Freedom Charity, which supports women and girls affected by this, have seen a surge in the number of young women seeking help because their families are pushing them to have virginity tests. It therefore seems that the issue is growing. Immediate action is therefore needed to stem the tide.
One young woman who underwent virginity testing bravely reported her ordeal to the police. However, they told her that no crime had been committed. It is absolutely shocking that our police and justice system are unable to do anything to stop these appalling practices.
Nothing less than a full legislative ban on hymenoplasty and virginity testing will protect women and girls. This is backed up by the founder of the Freedom Charity, Aneeta Prem. It has absolutely no place in our society and we must take action to prevent more women and girls being subjected to it.
The Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy presents a vital opportunity to act. I therefore urge you to ensure that it includes this recommendation, and that legislation to ban all forms of hymenoplasty and virginity testing is introduced and inserted into the statute books as quickly as Parliamentary time allows.
Gill Furniss MP
Member of Parliament for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough