The Indonesian Military Is Reportedly Still Performing Abusive, Unscientific 'Virginity Tests'

Image via Getty.
Image via Getty.

The Indonesian police force vowed to abandon the use of so-called “virginity test” for female civil servants in 2015, but a new report indicates that the country’s military has still not followed suit.

Human Rights Watch has called upon President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to end the practice, which involves a “two-finger test” invasion of the bodies of women soldiers. The test is supposed to determine whether or not a woman’s hymen has been “broken” from sex, but has absolutely no scientific basis. The thinking behind this is that whether a woman is a virgin or not is an indicator of her mental health and morality—again, not a notion verified by science or basic human decency. From Human Rights Watch:

“The Indonesian government’s continuing tolerance for abusive ‘virginity tests’ by the security forces reflects an appalling lack of political will to protect the rights of Indonesian women,” said Nisha Varia, women’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.


Police spokesman Setyo Wasisto says that women in the police force are still tested for venereal disease, but only by female personnel. No comment was offered from the Indonesian army. HRW has reported that virginity tests have gone on for decades and that in some cases, the fiancées of military officers have been subjected to the test.

Women who spoke with Human Rights Watch said the test was “painful, embarrassing, and traumatic,” and the organization reports that even women who “failed” the test don’t necessarily face punishment from the military. It’s really just a thing done to humiliate women for no reason, as we all suspected.

Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin

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The hymen is the most misunderstood part of human anatomy.