In order to join Indonesia’s National Police force, female applicants have to go through two-finger “virginity tests” – a process described as “discriminatory and a form of gender-based violence” by Human Rights Watch.
The practice and process of determining whether a female is a virgin is not just humiliating, but also quite painful – and has left many traumatized for life.
Although senior police officials claim the controversial procedure has been abolished, HRW found through its investigations that was not the case. The agency interviewed recipients across six Indonesian cities – two of them as recently as this year.
In fact, the requirement for undergoing the test is posted on Indonesia national police’s official website.
"In addition to the medical and physical tests, women who want to be policewomen must also undergo virginity tests,” it reads. “So all women who want to become policewomen should keep their virginity."
While women who failed to prove their virginity were not necessarily barred from the force, all of those interviewed by HRW said the examination was painful and traumatic.
“Entering the virginity test examination room was really upsetting,” said a 24-year-old woman. “I feared that after they performed the test I would not be a virgin anymore. They inserted two fingers with gel … it really hurt. My friend even fainted.”
A 19-year-old interviewee stressed the tests are degrading despite the fact that they are carried out by women.
“I don’t want to remember those bad experiences,” a 19-year-old woman said. “It was humiliating. Why should we take off our clothes in front of strangers? Yes, [the virginity testers] were women, but they were total strangers. It was discriminatory. It is not necessary. I think it should be stopped.”
Indonesian police spokesman Maj. Gen. Ronny Sompie said the test was no reason to “respond negatively” and that they are done to ensure the applicants do not have sexually transmitted diseases – which is a rather lame excuse since there are far less degrading alternatives to prove that.
How about asking for a blood samples? Or better yet, how about admitting that neither virginity nor STDs affect someone's ability to be a good police officer? It's time to get rid of this ridiculous examination for good.