The Health Ministry, under new guidelines for treating rape victims, has directed all hospitals to have a dedicated room for forensic and medical examination of rape victims. It has also outlawed he infamous two-finger test performed on rape victims, calling it unscientific. The Ministry, along with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has formulated new guidelines for sexual assault cases, which will end the horrendous medical procedure conducted on the victims after the rape. A new manual has also been drafted to address the psycho-social impact of sexual violence, including counselling for the victims to alleviate her trauma.
The much-maligned two-finger test used by doctors to assess whether the victim was habituated to sexual intercourse or not, has been abolished. Doctors have been advised not to use word rape, as it is a legal term and not a medical diagnosis. Further, during the medical tests, no third person should be present, except the doctor. If the doctor is a male, a female attendant must be there.
Currently, rape victims are put to a horrible judgemental test from the moment they call the police. They are subjected to judgmental treatment by both doctors and other hospital staff. The new guidelines prescribe that every hospital have a separate, well-equipped room to deal with sexual assault cases to ensure privacy. There must be provisions for alternative clothing for the victims and smooth evidence collection considering the sensitivity involoved. The doctors are also required to explain to the victim what the examination comprises and how the various procedures may be conducted, in a manner and language understandable by the victim.