Feminists have protested in Georgia after reports that a national institute was charging fees to carry out virginity tests ahead of traditional marriages.
The group demonstrated outside the National Forensics Bureau in Tbilisi after a TV channel reported that it was performing up to 200 virginity checks a year.
“When the state encourages discrimination against women and abusive treatment it’s unacceptable. What else is it when a human being has to get a certificate confirming virginity. It means there’s no trust in her, she’s subject to psychological pressure and violence, a victim,” said protester Tata Tsopurashvili, a member of the independent group of Georgian feminists.
The report on Imedi TV said most women who came for virginity checks were brought by relatives.
Although its own employees were quoted, the bureau denied issuing certificates and said it only carried out such tests under court order.
Critics say the obsession with virginity before marriage is driven by the Georgian Orthodox Church and causes social problems.
The country’s justice minister derided the reported tests as “backward”.