If you are a woman in Indonesia and want to join the military or the police force, you will be forced to submit to a degrading virginity test.
Even though the invasive “two-finger” test has no medical accuracy or basis in science, in Indonesia, police commissioners believe that the test ensures that female officers are “moral” and “worthy of office.”
The test, which women describe as painful and humiliating, is widespread in the country which has a reputation of being a moderate Muslim nation.
After repeated calls by Human Rights Watch and many other activist organizations to stop subjecting women to the test, a new way to leverage women’s rights in Indonesia is being proposed.
As the UK and other nations seek to expand relations – especially trade – with the East Asian state, activists are calling for making aid and increased trade with Indonesia conditional on the country ending the offending tests.
“Virginity testing is a gross violation of a woman’s right to equality,” Dr. Meghan Campbell, deputy director of the Oxford Human Rights Hub and law lecturer at Birmingham University, told The Telegraph. “It reinforces stereotypes that a woman’s moral worth is exclusively connected to sexual activity … and excludes them from positions of power.”
“As the UK seeks to position itself as a global leader it should protect the human rights of women all over the world,” she added.
This is not the first time virginity testing in Indonesia has made international news. In August 2013, the head of the education agency announced plans to force every female high school student to be checked every year as part of the entry requirements. The idea was pulled after stiff opposition from lawmakers and education activists.
Medical professionals agree that virginity tests are inaccurate, since the hymen can be broken in a number ways besides sexual activity – sports, physical make-up, use of tampons, etc.