virginity tests for student nurses


    Jul. 18, 08:03 EDT

    Turkey plans virginity tests for student nurses

    Women's groups, nurses, teachers outraged by new regulation

    ISTANBUL (AP) - Turkey's health minister says high school girls training to be nurses must be virgins and the virginity tests he is authorizing will protect the nation's youth from prostitution and underage sex.

    Outraged women's groups and nurses are vowing to fight, and a teachers' union is asking the government to fire the minister.

    The regulations introduced this week by Health Minister Osman Durmus allow principals in state schools that train nurses, midwives and other health workers to expel girls for ''having had sex or engaging in prostitution.'' Girls who are suspected of having sex could be subjected to a gynecological test to determine if they are virgins.

    Virginity is highly valued in mainly Muslim Turkey. Forced virginity tests on girls suspected of having had premarital sex were common until the practice was banned in 1999 after five girls took rat poison rather than submit to the test.

    Durmus said he was trying to promote moral behaviour in the nursing schools.

    ''Should our schools become places for prostitution?'' he was quoted as saying by Akit newspaper.

    In a tense meeting Tuesday, Buyan Dogan, the head of the Association of Turkish nurses, pleaded with Durmus to reconsider. The minister interrupted her frequently, at times accusing the nurses of defending underage sex.

    ''We will fight this to the end,'' an angry Dogan said before leaving Durmus' office.

    The controversy, which is also being debated in the country's newspapers, reflects deep divisions between the large part of Turkey that is deeply religious and the western-oriented elite who regard themselves as European.

    The Islamic-oriented newspaper Akit devoted its front page to Durmus' attacks on the nurses who oppose virginity tests.

    A Lesson For the Immoral Evil Person, the newspaper said in its headline, referring to Dogan. It accused her of defending prostitution and sexual relationships.

    The liberal press, meanwhile, ridiculed Durmus in sarcastic headlines. Columnist Can Dundar of the Milliyet newspaper asked how Durmus was going to check the virginity of male nursing students.

    The Turkish Union of Science and Culture Workers, which represents teachers, called for the minister's dismissal.

    ''Durmus should work to solve the country's health problems - he should not concern himself with issues concerning the waist down,'' said Alaadin Dincer, head of the union.

    In Turkey, girls who attend nursing high schools are generally from poor, traditional backgrounds. The conservative countryside is a traditional power base for Durmus' far-right Nationalist Action party.

    The 1999 ban on virginity tests allows them only for gathering evidence for court cases, such as rape trials. It requires a court order before women can be forced to take the test.

    Durmus said nursing students suspecting of having sex would not be subjected to virginity tests without a court order.

    Before the ban, school principals could force the test on girls suspected of engaging in premarital sex.

    The change came after five teenage girls from an orphanage attempted suicide by taking rat poison and throwing themselves in a water tank rather than submitting to the test after returning late to their orphanage. The girls were later forced to take the test in their hospital beds.

    Concern over virginity sometimes even extends to visitors to Turkey: in more conservative parts of the country, unmarried foreign tourists have been dragged out of their hotel rooms for staying with male companions.
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    Joined: Jun '01; Posts: 36
    Registered Nurse - Psychiatry


  3. by   oramar
    These sanctimonious prigs are usually big philanderers themselves and yes we have them in this country. If we are lucky his seven mistresses will come forward and point out his transgressions.