Indonesia: Army scraps ′virginity test′ for female cadets | News | DW | 11.08.2021

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Indonesia: Army scraps 'virginity test' for female cadets

Human rights groups have long decried the invasive "two-finger" tests as cruel and abusive, while the Indonesian military previously said the tests helped determine recruits' morality.

Members of Indonesia Woman Army wearing a Jilbab (Islamic headscarf) line up for parade during the Aceh Army Anniversary in Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Women were subjected to the unscientific and invasive virginity tests when apply for the armed forces

The Indonesian army will no longer conduct virginity tests on women applying to join the forces, the chief of staff announced on Wednesday. The practice was long condemned by rights groups who called it degrading and traumatic.

"Whether the hymen was ruptured or partially ruptured was part of the examination ... now there's no more of that," Andika Perkasa, the Indonesian army chief of staff, told reporters, referring to the invasive two-finger examination that was conducted to determine whether female applicants' hymens were intact.

In the past, the military used the tests to determine recruits' morality. 

No scientific validity

The Human Rights Watch conducted investigations into the practice, terming it systematic, abusive and cruel, while the World Health Organization said these tests had "no scientific validity" as the appearance of a hymen could not be a reliable indicator of intercourse.

Last month, army chief Andika said the selection process for male and female recruits must be equal. Virginity testing was "irrelevant to the purpose of recruitment and must not be administered," he added. 

Watch video 04:27

The hymen – A marker of virginity?

Activists welcome move

Rights activists welcomed the move, reiterating that such tests were a form of violence against women. Indonesia researcher at HRW Andreas Harsono said it was "the right thing to do", and that the practice was "degrading, discriminatory, and traumatic."

"There was never any need for the tests," said Andy Yentriyani, who heads the National Commission on Violence Against Women.

It remains unclear if Indonesia's navy and air force have also removed the requirement. The national police force scrapped the policy in 2015.

see/aw (Reuters, dpa)