Female Recruits In Indonesia’s Army Are No Longer Subjected To “Virginity Tests”

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudh Human rights organizations applauded Indonesia’s decision to end harsh “virginity tests” on female army recruits, seven years after the World Health Organization deemed them invalid.

The army would no longer subject women to intrusive examinations in which inspectors used their fingers to determine if the hymen was intact, according to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Andika Perkasa.

He stated that applicants should only be judged on their ability to participate in physical training and that the military would focus on whether or not they have color blindness, as well as the condition of their spines and hearts, to ensure that they are healthy and will not face life-threatening medical issues.

Perkasa told reporters on Tuesday during annual US-Indonesia joint military maneuvers in North Sulawesi’s Minahasa province, “These enhancements make us focused, effective, and accurate, and (guarantee) that we have direction.”

The new protocols have been communicated to the army’s hospital directors and medical commanders since May, he added.

In its 2014 clinical recommendations for the health treatment of sexually assaulted women, the World Health Organization said that the so-called “virginity test” has no scientific validity.

Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono urged Indonesia’s navy and air force leaders to put further pressure on them to stop the practice as well.

Harsono said in a statement received by The Associated Press on Thursday that the army command is doing the right thing. “It is now up to territory and battalion commanders to obey orders and acknowledge the practice’s unscientific and rights-abusing nature.”

lgnews-ndonesia's-Army-Are-No-Longer.gif2Applicants who were considered to have “failed” the test were not necessarily penalized, according to Human Rights Watch, but all of those who were subjected to it stated it was unpleasant, humiliating, and upsetting.

Human Rights Watch has also reported security forces’ use of similar tests in Egypt, India, and Afghanistan, as well as opposed proposals for virginity tests for Indonesian schoolgirls.

The Indonesian military and police, according to the report, have been conducting the tests for decades, and have even examined the fiancees of military personnel. In 2018, Indonesian police put a halt to the practice.

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