The Best Work You May Never See: VIF Network, DDB Romania Head Pro Bono Effort To Outlaw Virginity Testing 

By

Robert Goldrich
Wednesday, Jun. 15, 2022

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In partnership with The Network to Prevent and Tackle Violence against Women (VIF) in Romania, DDB Romania launched a social campaign, #UnExaminable, that aims to outlaw virginity testing in the country.

Although condemned by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a violation of human rights, virginity testing is still performed in Romania among examinations conducted in legal-forensic facilities. This type of exam can still be performed at the request of parents who want to test their daughters, in exchange of a small fee. In 2019, these tests accounted for 2% of all examinations carried out by the National Forensic Institute, which means around 1.000 tests annually.

As high-schoolers across Romania prepared to begin the Baccalaureate exam, a national evaluation that began on June 6, campaign makers sought to raise awareness on the existence of another exam that some teenagers still have to pass nowadays: the abusive virginity exam, also called the “two-finger” test.

Centerpiece of the pro bono public service campaign is this emotional video centered on a teen girl’s anxious thoughts before what we think is a school exam--but the whole build-up leads to the reveal that the hardest exam for her is the virginity exam. The video urges people to sign a petition aimed at removing these tests from the legislation.

Iulia Rugină, director of the campaign video produced via ABIS Studio, said, “I am always touched by any form of violence against women. When I was asked to contribute to the #UnExaminable campaign, I saw it as an opportunity to make a change. The first step towards making a change is to speak openly about a problem, instead of sweeping it all under rug, as well as to sanction any form of abuse. If you don’t know anything about it, it doesn’t mean it is not real. I believe it is crucial for people to know that such ‘testing’ still occurs in Romania in 2022, and that they are incredibly traumatizing for teenage girls and their sole purpose is to further preposterous bias about what a woman should do with her own body.” 

Roxana Memetea, managing partner of DDB Romania, partner in the campaign, added, “We aim to create a social movement around this campaign, in which we put this sensitive topic on the public agenda and launch a public petition to eliminate the “two-finger test”. We want to emphasize that virginity is a social construct and that it cannot be tested medically, and the procedure can cause psychological and emotional damage.”

Credits

Client The Network to Prevent and Tackle Violence against Women (VIF) Agency DDB Romania Roxana Niță. creative director; Alexandru Iliescu, sr. copywriter; Ana-Ramona Tanasa, sr. art director; Roxana Tampau, managing director; Roxana Memetea, managing partner. Production ABIS Studio Iulia Rugina, director; Boroka Biro, DP; Mariana Andriescu, producer; LIviu Gherghe, line producer; Mihaela Nastase, postproduction coordinator; Olivia Ianculescu, editor. Actor Voica Oltean

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