Female students in Indonesia may be forced to undergo ‘virginity tests’

Posted by: The Guardian | Date: August 22, 2013 | 8 Comments
AFP

An Indonesian official’s plan to make female high school students undergo mandatory virginity tests has been met with outrage from activists, who argue that it discriminates against women and violates their human rights.

Education chief Muhammad Rasyid, of Prabumulih district in south Sumatra, described the proposal as “an accurate way to protect children from prostitution and free sex” and said he would use the city budget to begin tests early next year if MPs approved the proposal.

“This is for their own good,” Rasyid said. “Every woman has the right to virginity … we expect students not to commit negative acts.”

The test would require senior high school female students, aged 16 to 19, to have their hymen examined every year until graduation. Boys, however, would undergo no such testing.

Rasyid’s proposal was met with some support from local politicians, who said the test would help cut down on “rampant” promiscuity in the district.

“Virginity is sacred, thus it’s a disgrace for a [female] student to lose her virginity before getting married,” Hasrul Azwar of the Islamist Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) told the Jakarta Post.

The proposal seems to be in response to increasing cases of premarital sex, local website Kompas reported, including the recent arrest of six senior high school students for alleged prostitution. It is the third plan of its kind in Muslim-majority Indonesia, where similar drafts were proposed in West Java in 2007, and again in Sumatra in 2010, but dropped after a public outcry.

Local and national MPs, activists, rights groups and even the local Islamic advisory council have all denounced Rasyid’s plan as potentially denying female students the universal right to education, in addition to targeting girls for an act that may not have even been consensual, such as sexual assault.

“There are female students who may have lost their virginity due to an accident − it is not their fault,” South Sumatra legislative council deputy speaker HA Djauhari told local media.

The National Commission for Child Protection also denounced the plan as an attempt to curry “popularity” among religious conservatives, and called the move “excessive”.

“Loss of virginity is not merely because of sexual activities,” said Arist Merdeka Sirait of the commission. “It could be caused by sports or health problems and many other factors.”

Just how the test would be implemented − and what consequences it could incur were it to be passed − is not yet clear, prompting local teachers to question whether those without intact hymens would still be allowed to attend classes.

Indonesia’s education and culture minister, Muhammad Nuh, condemned the plan and said the district needed “a wiser way to address the issue of teen sex”.

Virginity is a prized possession among many Indonesians, particularly in rural areas, and rapidly changing mores in a population of 240 million can sometimes create tension among the country’s more conservative elders and its large, more moderate youth.

Last year saw lawmakers propose a ban on miniskirts because “provocative clothing makes men do things”, while in the shariah-law province of Aceh, women have been ordered to sit side-saddle on motorbikes in order to better obscure the “curves of a woman’s body”. – By Kate Hodal © Guardian News and Media 2013

Image – AFP

IN THIS SECTION


  • Mecurian

    Is there such a thing as a virginity test for men?

  • Mecurian

    “The test would require senior high school female students, aged 16 to 19, to have their hymen examined every year until graduation. Boys, however, would undergo no such testing.”

    There is no virginity test for men, and not through lack of trying, yet the article seems to suggest there is. If there were a test for boys one can assume that it would be conducted on them as well. This is partisan reporting and is designed to evoke an emotional response rather that getting the reader to actually think about it.

    While virginity tests are extreme, the idea of a child keeping his or her virginity while he or she is at school is not a radical one at all, it is certainly a responsible idea. The concept that children are not mature enough to make sexual decisions is entirely justified. Children for the most part are unaware of the consequences that may result, pregnancy, STD’s, rape, psychological damage and heartbreak that can severely mess up their future.

    I suggest the M&G research what is actually going on and give a balanced view, rather than relying upon articles from the British Guardian which appear to be more and more of a tabloid sensationalist rag than a serious source of news.

    • http://women.mg.co.za/female-students-in-indonesia-may-be-forced-to-undergo-virginity-tests/ Michael

      No Mercurian……the article does not seem to suggest that there is a virginity test for boy’s, it just states that boys would not be tested, though not the by lacking of the Islamic authorities to divine such a test.
      Please think for a minute…..how on earth would such a test be administered?
      By way of expressing knowledge of female genitalia?

  • Tshephisho

    “Loss of virginity is not merely because of sexual activities,” said Arist Merdeka Sirait of the commission. “It could be caused by sports or health problems and many other factors.”——— I actually like this

  • Odwa

    I don’t see how walking around with at least one person knowing about your sexual status will improve anything. The officials could benefit from human rights workshops. Hands off ours sisters

  • Lesetja

    Subjecting women to testing or other female abuses acts are a sign of living in the presence but belonging to the stone age era. God created us male and female, so let us respect each other equally . If is a test let it be for all(boys and girls)

  • Lia

    I am highly disturbed by this article I do believe women also should be allowed there privacy this is totally violating there rights & I truly think all woman should take a stand against this we are now living in the 21st century & surely woman should be allowed to have the right to do what they want to

    • PHIRI

      After testing and one is found not to be a virgin, what next? This idea is form disturbed man who what to abuse women from an early age right through to the grave. Are they not ashamed of such abuses, on their daughters, mothers and sisters. These people are not fit to lead at all.