Tanzania: Teen posted on instagram and the next thing he knew, a doctor was invading his body

In March, police in Dar es Salaam, acting on orders from Tanzanian Deputy Health Minister Hamisi Kigwangalla, arrested 19-year-old William (not his real name) for posting a video on Instagram that led the deputy minister to believe that William was gay. 

Homosexual conduct carries a life sentence in Tanzania, though until recently, the law has rarely if ever been enforced. The police interrogated William about his sexual history. Then they took him to a government hospital where, William said, a doctor forcibly subjected him to an “anal exam,” purportedly seeking “proof” of his alleged homosexual conduct.

“One police officer stayed in the room” during the humiliating examination, William said in an interview. “It was painful.”

The kind of physically invasive “test” that William underwent should not take place in the 21st century. It was invented nearly 150 years ago by a French physician who believed that anal examinations could demonstrate signs of “sexual deviance.”

His unsubstantiated theories were roundly dismissed by the next generation of French doctors, and continue to be rejected by medical experts. Sadly, forced anal examinations seem to have found a home in parts of Africa. Read more via Human Rights Watch