Human rights observers have lambasted a new rule that has seen aspiring Indonesian female police recruits being forced to undergo virgin tests.
Current laws dictate that in order for an Indonesian woman to become a policewoman she must be aged between 17-5 and 22 years follow a religion, be at least 5ft5in, not need glasses and now also be a virgin.
Tells a recruitment website: ‘In addition to the medical and physical tests, women who want to be police women must also undergo virginity tests, so all women who want to become police women should keep their virginity,’
Offered one applicant: ‘I felt embarrassed, nervous, but I couldn’t refuse, ‘
‘If I had refused, I couldn’t have become a policewoman.’
The new mandate had led to recruits being forced to undress in front of 20 other candidates where they are made to undergo an examination in full view to determine if the female police recruits were indeed ‘virgins.’
Such tests would involve the probing of two fingers. A process described by HRW as archaic and discredited.
Offered Nisha Varia, associate women’s rights director at HRW: ‘The Indonesian National Police’s use of virginity tests is a discriminatory practice that harms and humiliates women,’
‘Applicants who failed the test were not necessarily expelled from the force, but women described the test as painful and traumatic.’
The practice, which is supposed to determine if the candidate’s hymen is intact, has been widely discredited as unscientific and degrading.
A spokesman for the national police confirmed virginity tests still happened but that there was no requirement for female candidates to be virgins.
‘There is a complete health test for both female and male candidates including checking reproductive organs and the virginity test for women will be a part of that routine,’ said Ronny Sompie.
‘But there has never has been a rule that requires police women to be virgins, so there is no discrimination.’
One candidate, who had undergone the test and asked to remain anonymous, said she agreed with it in principle.
‘I don’t have a problem with the test…but the way in which it was conducted, with many people in one room, violated our privacy,’ she said.
Women currently make up about three percent of the 400,000-strong force, with a recent drive to increase the number of female officers believed to have fermented concern over the ‘purity’ of candidates in a society which places premium on a female’s virginity.
The issue hit the headlines last year, when the education chief of a city sparked outrage by suggesting that teenage schoolgirls should undergo virginity tests to enter senior high school.
top image found here