By Debora MacKenzie. Doctors, police and employers should be banned from using so-called virginity tests on women and girls, and those who continue to use them should be prosecuted, the World Health Organization has declared. Such tests are used around the world in rape investigations and even in hiring women for certain professions.
Plain English Summary
The hymen is a thin piece of mucosal tissue that surrounds or partially covers the external vaginal opening. It forms part of the vulva , or external genitalia , and is similar in structure to the vagina. Tearing the hymen during the first sexual intercourse usually causes pain and, sometimes, some light bleeding. In children, a common appearance of the hymen is crescent -shaped, although many shapes are possible. During puberty , estrogen causes the hymen to change in appearance  and become very elastic. The hymen usually rips or tears during the first time penetrative intercourse , which usually results in pain and, sometimes, mild temporary bleeding or spotting. Sources differ on how common bleeding after first intercourse is. Minor injuries to the hymen may heal  without visible signs of previous injury.
Children who have been raped some years back may have hymenal scars. However, medical professionals are not accustomed in assessing these scars because of the lack of experience in performing physical examinations of the external genitalia of children who suffered from rape some years back. Moreover, the importance of physical examination of the victim's external genitalia is sometimes overlooked. Two cases of rape victims with hymenal scars who visited Daegu Child Sexual Abuse Response Center several years after their first sexual abuse along with a literature review are presented here.