Rape victim made to 'balance rock on her head to prove purity' in India

The ritual, called 'Agnipariksha', is being carried out to enable her to live with her husband again

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The Independent Online

A rape victim who fell pregnant by her attacker is being made to balance a 40kg rock on her head in order to prove her purity and live with her husband again.

The woman, who was refused an abortion by Gujarat High Court in India, and reportedly had to later surrender her baby to the government, is having to undergo the ‘sanctity test’ for an unspecified time frame.

The ritual, called 'Agnipariksha', is being carried out to enable her to live with her husband again, which she will not be able to do unless she passes the test.

The victim told India Today that she was living in fear and said her attacker had threatened to kill her when he is released from prison. 

'Agnipariksha' is a cultural tradition is some parts of India for women who have suffered sexual abuse and therefore apparently had their virtue tainted.

The ceremony, meaning ‘test of fire’, has its origin in the epic Hindu poem the Ramayana.  In the work, Sita was made to sit in a fire after being kidnapped by another suitor.

The treatment of women and victims of rape continues to cause controversy and debate in India.

The gang rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old student on a Delhi bus caused worldwide shock and condemnation in 2012.

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