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Statement on Anal Examinations in Cases of Alleged Homosexuality

May 2016

The Independent Forensic Expert Group, of which PHR’s Medical Director, Dr. Vincent Iacopino, is a member, released this statement on anal examinations in cases of alleged homosexuality.

Anal examinations are forcibly conducted in many countries where consensual anal intercourse is considered a criminal act. They are conducted almost exclusively on males in an effort to “prove” that they are “homosexuals” despite the fact that anal intercourse is not a necessary determinant of “homosexual activity.”

Forcibly conducted anal examinations have no medical or scientific value in determining whether consensual anal intercourse has taken place; these examinations are inherently discriminatory and, in almost all instances, result in significant physical and mental pain and suffering. It is our opinion that forcibly conducted anal examinations constitute cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, and may amount to torture depending on the individual circumstances.

When anal examinations are forcibly conducted and involve anal penetration, the examination should be considered a form of sexual assault and rape. The involvement of health professionals in these examinations is a violation of the basic standards and ethics of our profession.

The purpose of this medico-legal statement is to provide legal experts, adjudicators, health care professionals, and policy makers, among others, with an understanding of: 1) the validity of forcibly conducted anal examinations as medical and scientific evidence of consensual anal intercourse; 2) the likely physical and psychological consequences of forcibly conducted anal examinations; and 3) whether, based on these effects, forcibly conducted anal examination constitutes cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or torture. This statement also addresses the ethical implications of this practice and the role that individual examiners and professional medical organisations are knowingly or unknowingly playing in policing and punishing homosexuality.

Read the full statement here.

PHR Library