When they reviewed support services, the HRW found slow progress.
Doctors in India are still conducting the banned ‘two-finger test’ on rape survivors. This is the shocking discovery Human Rights Watch (HRW) made during their latest study.
In their report, they revealed that a Rajasthan hospital still carried out this test. As they would mention the procedure in examination forms they filled out.
Despite reforms made by the government to improve aid for victims, the study also found some still face a lack of support. Where they face humiliation with this invasive procedure.
The ‘two-finger test’ involves a doctor inserting two fingers into a women’s vagina. Through this procedure, they determine if the woman was raped.
However, it can lead to humiliation among victims where they felt degraded.
HRW published their study on 8th November 2017. The organisation explored the impact of new changes made, concerning rape cases. Not only how they are reported, but how the police and hospitals treat victims.
Back in 2012, a case concerning the death of an Indian student, which resulted in a gang rape on a bus, shocked the world. As a result, the government implemented new changes in the law – one of which was banning the invasive procedure in 2013.
In the following year, the Indian Council of Medical Research announced new guidelines for their care of rape victims.
The study found that overall, more rape cases were reported over the years. In 2015, police received 35,000 reports of rape and 7,000 of these led to a conviction. This means both reports and convictions had increased by 40% over the 3 years.
However, when they reviewed support services, the HRW found slow progress. It stated in the published report: “The healthcare system has largely failed when it comes to providing therapeutic care and counselling to survivors.
“Women and girls said that they received almost no attention to their health needs, including counselling, even when it was clear they had a great need for it.”
With these findings, the organisation has called for the Indian government to take on their recommendations. These include proper training provided to police and medical staff, including doctors, to handle cases appropriately and sensitively.
In addition, they’ve suggested India implement a witness protection law. This would include protection for victims and their families, should they face any trouble for reporting such incidents.
With this study and its shocking revelations, particularly with the banned procedure, many will hope this acts as a wake-up call for the government. To properly support women and girls who report rape crimes. Encouraging them to come forward to speak out on the abuse they suffered.
Read more of the HRW study, entitled “Everyone Blames Me”: Barriers to Justice and Support Services for Sexual Assault Survivors in India here.