Around Asia: “Virginity tests” for Indonesian high school girls

An Indonesian education official has drawn ire after proposing mandatory “virginity tests” for female high school students.

The plan would require young women to undergo so-called virginity tests before they step into senior high school.

Education chief Muhammad Rasyid, of Prabumulih district in south Sumatra, said the tests will be “an accurate way to protect children from prostitution and free sex.”

The virginity tests will be carried out as soon as next year and will be conducted every year.

“This is for their own good,” Rasyid said. “Every woman has the right to virginity… we expect students not to commit negative acts.”

Rasyid’s proposal immediately triggered public outcry, with activists saying the test was gender-biased.

While female students would be compelled to go through the tests, males would not be obliged to do so.

Other Indonesian officials also condemned the plan, saying it was practically “a form of sexual violence against women.”

“It is degrading and discriminatory against women,” said. Masruchah, the deputy head of the national commission on violence against women, who goes by one name.

Education Minister Mohammad Nuh criticized the intrusive tests.

“If you want to protect your children from negative influence, there are other ways. This is not wise,” he said.

The plan has gained traction with some local politicians who claimed it would curb the perceived rise in promiscuity in Muslim-majority Indonesia.

by Maesie Bertumen

Photo: Thompson Rivers/Flickr

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