news

Female police recuits in this country are subjected to a two-fingered virginity test.

By SHAUNA ANDERSON

Women spoke of their experiences.

Female police recruits in Indonesia are being subjected to a degrading and traumatising “virginity test” a human rights group has found.

The practice, which contravenes international human rights policy has been exposed by the group Human Rights Watch.

Female recruits are subjected to a two-fingered virginity test.

The test is listed publicly on the national police web site as a requirement to enter the force.

The website states “In addition to the medical and physical tests, women who want to be policewomen must also undergo virginity tests. So all women who want to become policewomen should keep their virginity.”

Human Rights Watch says that it is performed as part of the chief of police’s health inspection guidelines for new candidates, which requires women to complete an “obstetrics and gynecology” exam.

But the women forced to undergo the test said it was humiliating.

A 24-year old police recruit:

 “Even just entering the room was very scary because we had to undress while there were 20 people in the room. We didn’t know each other. Entering the virginity test examination room was really upsetting. I feared that after they performed the test I would not be a virgin anymore. They inserted two fingers. It really hurt. My friend even fainted because … it really hurt, really hurt.”

Another woman aged just 19-years old:

“I did the health test in a hall at the State Police School (Sekolah Polisi Negara) building. They put up a curtain so that outsiders could not look inside. My group of about 20 girls was asked to enter the hall and was asked to take off our clothes, including our bras and underpants. It was humiliating. Only those who had menstruation can keep [wearing] underpants.

Our group was the last one that day. The medical staff was probably already exhausted. … We’re asked to sit on a table for women giving birth. A female doctor did the virginity test … the “two-finger” test.

I was not nervous. I am confident that I am still a virgin. When the virginity test ended, we were asked to put on our clothes.”

The women who did not pass the test were not necessarily prevented from becoming police officers, though female recruits are expected to be single and not marry until they have been in the force for a few years.

According to Human Rights Watch eight current and former policewomen and applicants, as well as police doctors, a police recruitment evaluator, a National Police Commission member, and women’s rights activists all confirmed the practice still took place.

ADVERTISEMENT

HRW say the test is given early in the recruitment process as part of the applicants’ physical exam.

There have been objections to the practise since 1980.

Police Medical and Health Center personnel conduct the tests in police-operated hospitals, female doctors perform the degrading “two-finger test” to determine whether female applicants’ hymens are intact.

There have been objections to the test as far back at 1980 with a retired policewoman, Dr. Irawati Harsono telling Human Rights Watch that she had expressed her objections with the National Police’s then head of personnel in 1980.

But the practice continues.

Indonesia is currently trying to ramp up the female quota in its police force with plans for a 50% increase in the number of policewomen, to 21,000 by December.

That will account for between 3 and 5 % of the force.

HRW associate women’s rights director, Nisha Varia

Indonesia is not the only country to perform virginity tests.

Human Rights Watch reports Egypt, India, and Afghanistan also perform the humiliating virginity test.

HRW associate women’s rights director, Nisha Varia has called for the test to be abolished.

“Coerced ‘virginity tests’ can also constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment prohibited under international law,” she said.

“Police authorities in Jakarta need to immediately and unequivocally abolish the test and then make certain that all police recruiting stations nationwide stop administering it.”

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. You click, we help. Shooting star illustration.

Mamamia is funding 100 girls in school, every day.

So just by spending time with Mamamia, you’re helping educate girls, which is the best tool to lift them out of poverty.

Thanks for helping!

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. Girl with pigtails sitting at desk writing in notebook. Row of four books.
Three hands holding books
00:00 / ???