Thursday 14 May 2015

Military Urged To End 'Cruel' Virginity Tests

Indonesia is being urged to stop carrying out virginity tests on women who are looking to join the armed forces.
Activist group Human Rights Watch described the practice as "cruel, inhuman and degrading" gender-based violence that is "scientifically baseless".

According to HRW, an examination used in the mainly Muslim country consists normally of a "two-finger test" to ensure the hymen is intact.
It interviewed 11 recruits and officers' fiancees who had had the tests and said women had described them as "painful, embarrassing and traumatic"
One woman said: "I felt humiliated. It was very tense. It's against the rights of every woman."
She also expressed shock that it had been a man conducting the test.
Another woman - a retired air force officer - recalled being forced to undertake the test in 1984.
She married four years later but said she could not have a physical relationship with her husband for months afterwards "because of the trauma that I had with that 'virginity test'".
Military spokesman Fuad Basya defended the tests, saying: "If a person has low morals, then she cannot join the military.
"Because if she joins the military it will damage the military, which must handle a huge duty.
"They are responsible for the country's sovereignty, the unity of the territory, the safety of the nation."
HRW women's rights advocacy director Nisha Varia disagreed.
"The Indonesian armed forces should recognise that harmful and humiliating 'virginity tests' on women recruits does nothing to strengthen national security," Ms Varia said.
"President Joko Widodo should set the military straight and immediately abolish the requirement and prevent all military hospitals from administering it."
Indonesia denies it also tests women planning to marry armed forces officers.
The HRW report has been published ahead of a meeting next week on the island of Bali bringing together an international group of doctors who work for the military.

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