Forced to undergo genital exams in colonial India

Indian women, 1870
Women in India in 1870 – new research by a Harvard professor explores sexuality under British authorities

In 1868, police in the British-ruled Indian city of Calcutta (now Kolkata) sent a woman called Sukhimonee Raur to prison for evading a genital examination which had been made compulsory for “registered” sex workers.

Under the colonial Contagious Diseases Act, designed to contain the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, sex workers had to “register themselves at police stations, get…


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