Facebook Controversy Draws Attention to 'Virginity Testing'

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A controversial author attempting to raise awareness of the widespread practice of “virginity testing” has had her Facebook account disabled permanently, possibly because of a "graphic" photograph of a "virginity examination" involving several young girls in Africa. D.M. Murdock, a self-described "human rights activist," says it seems that the social networking site took exception to her posting of the image to illustrate an article about the practice of so-called virginity tests in Canada.

Controversial author D.M. Murdock says her Facebook account was permanently disabled over a photojournalist image of an anthropological news item

D.M. Murdock aka Acharya S

Murdock also stated that she would like the world's media to be focused on the abuse of females globally, including with 'invasive, humiliating and degrading virginity examinations.'

Religion expert D.M. Murdock has announced that her Facebook account was "permanently disabled" after she inadvertently uploaded a photograph of African girls enduring "exploitative virginity testing." Murdock, who also describes herself as a "lifelong student of anthropology," states that the Facebook closure, although unwelcome, will help draw much-needed attention to a "humiliating and sexist tradition that plagues millions of women and girls worldwide."

An independent scholar of religion, mythology, archaeology and anthropology also known by the pen-name "Acharya S," Murdock discovered on Friday, October 18, that her Facebook account had been suspended the day after she posted a photojournalist image showing a row of young African girls lying on the ground in public, wearing minimal clothing, while adults engage in "invasive examination of their genitalia."

Ms. Murdock points out that this practice has occurred for centuries in many countries, often justified by religion and committed to determine whether or not a female is a "virgin," frequently for the purpose of marriage, impregnation and/or slavery. After these mass examinations, the girls may be marked on the forehead with clay to indicate their "purity" and/or receive "certificates of virginity."

Murdock calls this practice "sexist, degrading and humiliating," asserting that "millions of females globally are at risk for this abuse." She also points out that the "intrusive and demeaning procedure" surfaced in Egypt during the Morsi presidency, described as "manual rape" that in significant part led to protests eventually overthrowing the government.

In her effort to increase awareness, Murdock posted on Facebook an article from the Canadian National Post, uploading the controversial image along with it "in order to garner attention." She says that Facebook's reaction, after she has spent several years on the site, accumulating "over 10,000 friends, fans and followers on her profile and several pages," was "completely unnecessary." Murdock remarks, "As a scholar of anthropology for decades, and having been raised on National Geographic magazine, I considered the image to be a record of an anthropological behavior."

She continues: "My FB profile was always controversial, as I strive to expose man's inhumanity to man and other creatures, so that suffering globally will be reduced. That fact means that at times there is rancor, but what would a social network be without that? Since I've had the account for several years with few problems, even if there were previous complaints about subject matter, the timing of this action points to the image in question."

Murdock says she harbors no ill feelings towards Facebook, stating: "I find the site to be very inspirational, and I was able for years to share my work and to bring attention to a large number of important issues, including atrocity worldwide.” She continues, “I appreciate the venue and would like to have it back."

Murdock also stated that she does not expect Facebook to reinstate her account but that she does want the world's media to be focused on the abuse of females globally, including "invasive, humiliating and degrading virginity examinations designed to reduce females to mere chattel and baby-making machines."

For more information about this controversy, see Murdock's blog at http://freethoughtnation.com/contributing-writers/63-acharya-s/828-facebook-permanently-disables-account-for-virginity-test-photo.html.

Murdock's supporters have created a petition to Facebook to have her account reinstated:
http://www.change.org/petitions/facebook-reinstate-acharya-s-s-facebook-page.

As of the writing of this press release, the petition had over 2,300 signatures from people around the world, with numerous supportive comments.

D.M. Murdock/Acharya S is the author of controversial books on religion and mythology, including the bestselling "The Christ Conspiracy," as well as "Suns of God," "Who Was Jesus?" and "Christ in Egypt." Her books and articles can be found at StellarHousePublishing.com, TruthBeKnown.com and FreethoughtNation.com.

Educated in Greek civilization at Franklin & Marshall College and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece, Murdock specializes in studying ancient primary sources in their original languages. Her work explores the remote origins of religious and mythological ideas dating back many thousands of years. She also studies the effects of religion on today’s cultures, focusing on the inequality of females in many faiths.

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