Indonesian police face uproar over forced virginity tests for female officers

World Today

Human rights groups are demanding a halt to the use of virginity tests for police officers in Indonesia. Abusive virginity tests by police have also been reported in several other countries including Egypt, Libya, Pakistan and Afghanistan. CCTV America’s Andy Sapurtra reported this story from Jakarta, Indonesia.

Indonesian police face uproar over forced virginity tests for female officers

Virginity tests for female police has been a longstanding practice in Indonesia. Recent reports citing this have caused a public uproar. Abusive virginity tests by police have also been reported in several other countries including Egypt, Libya, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Human rights groups are now demanding a halt to this type of recruitment process. CCTV America's Andy Sapurtra reported this story from Jakarta.

To be a law enforcer you need to be in top condition both physically and mentally, and in Indonesia, you also have to be a virgin. Reports of a forced virginity test were recently released along with a video by the organization Human Rights Watch.

Former police candidates describe their harrowing ordeal.

“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,” said a former candidate who was not identified on the video.

The report included testimonies from women in six cities and has led to public outcry, including from one of the leading women’s equality organizations in Indonesia.

“It has nothing to do with their ability to perform. There are documents from the police that clearly stated that this test is aimed as a moral test, this is also very discriminative, aimed as a moral punishment for the people who are no longer virgin,” said Mariana Amiruddin from the NGO Jurnal Perempuan.

The spokesperson of the national police stated that the exam is part of routine medical check.

“This is not a virginity test, we conduct a throughout medical check that includes checking for sexually transmitted diseases, hemorrhoids among others, to ensure that they are fit to be join the police. And men are also subjected to the same tests,” said Boy Raffy Ahmad, a National Police spokesperson.

But standard STD test methods described by numerous governmental websites, including the one from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, does not list the two finger test as one of the methods.

Virginity tests have been recognized internationally as a violation of human rights. While the national police has banned the practice three times in the last decade, the latest in 2010, the Human Rights Watch report has prompted it an internal investigation.