test of rape victims More female doctors needed
girl, whose name is withheld for protection, was going to school when
a young man whisked her off to an under-construction building and raped
her there. She was left at the darkened building until a woman passing
by the area heard her groan in pain and called help for her.
At hospital doctors
wanted to conduct a medical examination on the girl to determine whether
she was raped. They faced a big problem: the girl's mother vehemently
objected to the medical tests by male doctors. She was prepared to allow
the tests only by female doctors. It took several days and lots of persuasion
by lawyers, police investigators and relatives before the mother agreed
to the medical tests by male doctors.
in rape cases' progresses is extremely slow in Bangladesh. One of the
several key reasons for the delayed process is the reluctance of women
victims against being tested by male doctors. Female doctors are terribly
in short supply to perform the job.
According to Naripakho,
a women rights group, 23 of 29 rape victims on which it conducted a
survey refused to be tested by men. Medical test is a must before any
legal proceeding can be started against an attacker. The test requires
the victim to lie on a table completely naked. Since the rape victims
in Bangladesh are all women they feel shy and some believes it goes
against religious practices to undress before male doctors.
Before the test
the victim or her relatives are required to sign an approval to undergo
the examination by the doctor. The finding of the test serves as evidence.
So, the test is very crucial in a rape trial.
Consider the embarrassment
a young rape victim has suffered when a male doctor did the test. ``When
the doctor asked me to undress I felt like dying in shame," recalls
the girl about the test by a male doctor. "But then I was determined
to see my tormentor punished. So, I agreed to go through the unwelcome
Not that Bangladesh
has a scarcity of female doctors. Female doctors feel discouraged to
do the forensic job to avoid the hassle of standing as witness in rape
cases. In Bangladesh, such cases drag for years and the witnesses are
to appear in court on their own expenses. Trial dates change a lot causing
more problems to the witnesses. In addition, there are risks of attacks
and reprisals by the accused.
The trial hassle
is a key factor that deters female doctors from joining the forensic
job. Explains Prof. Mozaherul Huq, Director at Institute of Public Health:
"In our country concerned doctors are to appear in court as witnesses.
In many other countries, the doctors need not to go to court. They only
send the reports to court." Appearing in court is a hassle and
women want to avoid it, he says. Some suggests that nurses or midwives
can be trained to do the forensic tests of rape victims.
All these problems
can be solved now that the One-Stop-Crisis Center has set up a DNA lab
with Danish financial help. DNA tests will be an important weapon in
the fight to identify the rapists. DNA tests can match the attackers'
hair, saliva, nail, colour of hair and eyes. The possessor of the semen
can be identified long after the incident.