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.” Medical personnel are called upon to conduct a digital examination of the
anus using a gloved and lubricated finger of the examiner as well as visual inspection of the anal area and sometime the insertion of tubes of varying sizes. The examination is performed with the presumption that there are characteristic signs that correlate with consensual anal intercourse, namely laxity of the anal sphincter. In some cases, examiners claim that the appearance of the anus and the degree of laxity are signs of “chronic anal intercourse” or “habitual anal penetration.”

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 examinationi 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.

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