Misplaced morality

Indonesia called upon to end “two-finger virginity tests” for women in military

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JAKARTA, INDONESIA: Women in uniform march during a ceremony in Jakarta, 05 October 2006. Hundreds of Indonesian soldiers took part in the ceremony to mark the 61th anniversary of country's Armed Force Day. AFP PHOTO/Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Human Rights Watch is calling on Indonesia to end ‘two-finger virginity tests’ conducted on women applying to join the military. The “discredited and degrading” exam is given early in the recruitment process and is used to determine if the woman’s hymen is still intact, and has been condemned as a form of gender-based violence. Human Rights Watch says that the practice violates the international human rights law that prohibits cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Recruits are reportedly given the explanation that the examinations are key in order for the women to preserve the “dignity and honor of the nation.” Testimony from applicants and officers from six Indonesian cities illustrate how the tests are distressing and uncomfortable and in some cases performed by male physicians. Nisha Varia, HRW women’s rights advocacy director, said, “The Indonesian armed forces should recognize that harmful and humiliating ‘virginity tests’ on women recruits does nothing to strengthen national security.”

Read the full story on The Independent.

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