Indonesian police women still subject to virginity tests
Human rights groups slam the recruitment requirement as sexist and invasive
Indonesian women who apply to join the police force reportedly have to undertake a virginity test, a requirement that has been condemned by human rights activists.
Women are put through a virginity test in order to be recruited as a police officer, ABC Australia reported, citing unnamed sources.
The tests themselves are not mandatory but are still imposed under a “morality/physical examination” stipulation. Officially, the test has been banned in Indonesia but it is still practiced by most law enforcement agencies in the country.
Critics have slammed the invasive nature of the test. Human Rights Watch’s Andreas Harsono said the Indonesian police think that women who have active sex lives are shunned by society. Harsono claimed the practice was also common in the military and that most of the doctors that conduct the tests are male.
A woman, referred to as Zakia, told the Human Rights Watch that her application was declined because she failed the virginity test earlier this year. She said the test was not performed by a medical professional. Despite her pleadings that her hymen was ripped due to exercise years ago, the officers intimidated her to “confess.” She ultimately got rejected.
Female recruits are also required to be “pleasing to the eye” and are required to be single for the first two years of service.
The “pretty policewomen” phenomenon has been prominent on social media platforms.
Dr Sharyn Davies, from Auckland University of Technology, published a study this year that found vaginal and hymen examinations are still a key part of police recruitment in Indonesia.
She said the tactic is a public relations move to clean up the “corrupt” image of local police officers.
Davies said the strategy was effective but also very short-sighted.