Indonesian military hints at end of “virginity tests” for female recruits
During invasive tests, women have two fingers inserted into their vagina by a doctor of both sexes, in order to assess whether they have an intact hymen.
Speaking on a teleconference that was uploaded to YouTube last month, Indonesian Army Chief of Staff Gen. Andika Perkasa hinted that the process would be stopped, with training focused instead. on “capacities”.
“We have to be consistent. The selection we make for men should be the same (as) the tests for women, in terms of testing their ability to go through the basics of military training,” he said. during the show.
Some tests, he added, were now “unnecessary” and “irrelevant”.
Painful and traumatic
Human Rights Watch welcomed the apparent move in its statement, but said virginity tests were still used in the country for recruitment to other national roles.
“The army command is doing the right thing. It is now incumbent on territory and battalion commanders to follow orders and recognize the unscientific and abusive nature of this practice.
“Increased pressure must also be focused on senior navy and air force commanders to follow the army’s lead and end this practice,” the organization said.
Virginity tests were also used on female police recruits, according to Human Rights Watch.
At the time, Human Rights Watch cited a 24-year-old woman who said she was traumatized by the test. She said another colleague passed out in pain.
The organization told CNN on Friday that the practice has since officially ceased nationwide.
The Home Office, which engaged in the practice, also stopped using it in 2014, Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono told CNN.
Harsono, who is based in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, said men believe “easy women” should be banned from taking up roles in the military and police.
“In general, women oppose this practice more than men,” he said, “although many victims prefer to remain silent.”
“Human Rights Watch and many women’s rights groups in Indonesia will continue to pressure the navy and air force to end this practice,” he added.
CNN has contacted the Indonesian military for comment.