The place where female military recruits have to undergo a 'two finger' virginity test.

Indonesian military urged to stop two fingered “virginity tests”.

Human Rights Watch have urged Indonesia to stop requiring female military recruits to undergo virginity testing.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the hymen examinations were “harmful and humiliating’.

With some saying it may amount to torture.

Indonesian military top
Calls for Indonesia to stop the tests. Image via. Getty.

The Indonesian military however have defended the tests saying they had carried them out for some time and that they were necessary.


“We need to examine the mentality of these applicants. If they are no longer virgins, if they are naughty, it means their mentality is not good,” Indonesian military spokesman Fuad Basya told The Guardian.

The tests are conducted by medics where fingers are inserted into the vagina and anus of the recruits to judge whether their hymen is intact.

“The Indonesian armed forces should recognise that harmful and humiliating ‘virginity tests’ on women recruits does nothing to strengthen national security,” said Nisha Varia, from Human Rights Watch. 

“President Joko Widodo should set the military straight and immediately abolish the requirement and prevent all military hospitals from administering it.”

Human Rights Watch sent letters to the ICMM and 16 member countries asking them to urge the Indonesian armed forces to cease all “virginity tests.

Indonesian military spokesman Fuad Basya told The Guardian that it was necessary as it determined whether the women had “accidentally” lost their virginity or were sexually active.

“We will continue to carry out the test because to be a military person, the most important thing is your mentality. Physical and intellectual requirements are secondary,” Basya said.


The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) also spoke out about the practice ahead of a conference on military medicine in Bali, Indonesia.

IRCT described the testing as “a gross violation of women’s rights and one that may amount to ill-treatment and torture under international law”.

Human Right’s Watch previously interviewed police recruits, who also undergo testing about the process. Post continues after video:


A military doctor at a hospital in Jakarta told Human Rights Watch that the test is part of the mandatory military exam and is given early in the recruitment process as part of the applicants’ physical exam.

A doctor who spoke to Human Rights Watch said that female military applicants were tested en masse in large halls divided into curtain-separated examination rooms. Female military doctors usually conduct the test, although one woman told Human Rights Watch that a man administered the procedure on her.

A doctor, who had performed the tests described them as torturous.

“The women were positioned like women giving birth. In 2008, I administered the test myself. Those young women were totally unwilling to be positioned in such an opened position. It took an effort to make them willing to [undergo the virginity test]. It was not [just] a humiliating act anymore. It was a torture. I decided not to do it again.”


One women told HRW “In 2013, I applied to join the military academy in Bandung. All of the recruits needed to undertake medical examinations. One of them is the “virginity test.” What shocked me was finding out that the doctor who was to perform the test was a man. I had mixed feelings. I felt humiliated. It was very tense. It’s all mixed up. I hope the future medical examination excludes “virginity test.” It’s against the rights of every woman.”

Another woman, a now retired air force officer subjected to a ‘virginity test’ in 1984 recounts “Four years after I took the test, I married my fiancé. Like most normal newlyweds, we took a honeymoon in Bali and we wanted to make love. But my body was so stiff. I cannot open my legs. I cried the whole night. We could only have sex [for the first time] two months later. It was because of the trauma that I had with that “virginity test”.’

Human Rights Watch research found that all branches of the military – air force, army, and navy – have used the test for decades and also extended the requirement to the fiancées of military officers.

One military wife said:

“My fiancé was then working as a dentist in a naval base in Surabaya. When we’re about to marry, he asked for permission from his commander.”

“The [permission] letter says I must take several medical tests. I underwent the test in Surabaya, but also in Jakarta. Both of them were in naval hospitals. [The tests] ranged from psychological tests to a medical examination,’ she explained.


“The rationale was economic: the military wants healthy couples. It also included the “two-finger test.” I thought I was a virgin, so I did not mind. I passed the test and we got married. It was embarrassing, but who I am to oppose it? Military men often travel away from home. They should trust their wives.”

Another: “Four years after I took the test, I married my fiancé. Like most normal newlyweds, we took a honeymoon in Bali and we wanted to make love. But my body was so stiff. I cannot open my legs. I cried the whole night. We could only have sex [for the first time] two months later. It was because of the trauma that I had with that “virginity test.”

JAKARTA, INDONESIA - SEPTEMBER 30: University students join a  protest against government's plan to increase the fuel price outside Presidential Palace, September 30, 2005, in Jakarta, Indonesia.  Jakarta deploy at least 5,000 police  in the capital to deal with demonstrations against the fuel price increases that scheduled to take effect on Oct. 1. (Photo by Dimas Ardian / Getty Images)
Female police officers also must undergo the test. Image via. Getty.

It has not just been the military who require these tests. After widespread condemnation in 2014 the government said it would no longer require women enrolling at a college for civil servants and regional administrators in training to undergo the examination.

But, as well as military recruits,  it still requires the test for police even though campaigners say is actually based on an ‘unscientific’ practice.

Apart from Indonesia, Human Rights Watch says it has also documented the practice of virginity tests for policewomen in other countries including Egypt, India and Afghanistan.

Here is a copy of the letter HRW have sent to the International Committee Of Military Medicine .


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