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Indonesia’s police ‘virginity tests’ fit pattern of flagrant rights abuses

Baker, J. (2014) Indonesia’s police ‘virginity tests’ fit pattern of flagrant rights abuses. The Conversation, 1 December 2014 .

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Human Rights Watch reported last week that Indonesian police conducted two-finger “virginity tests” on young female police cadets as part of their recruitment process.

Following a public uproar, the Indonesian police responded with their muddle of insular defensiveness and denial. Indonesia’s police chief, General Sutarman, denied the practice. A senior female officer said that while there used to be “virginity tests”, they didn’t happen anymore.

Meanwhile, the police head of human resources justified the practice, arguing that a woman’s “track record” should be judged by the integrity of her hymen. “Do we want to have prostitutes joining the police force?”, he asked.

Finally, a spokesperson for Dokkes, the police department for medicine and health, tried to play down the tests by stressing the police’s rubric for good health. A missing hymen is not a cause for failure, but combine that with poor eyesight, then it’s a no-no.

Dokkes is the department that administers the discriminative tests. Amid the public scrutiny over its “virginity tests”, we should be aware that the tests are only one of many human rights violations that the department enables in the impunity-ridden institution.

Item Type: Non-refereed Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Asia Research Centre
Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs
Publisher: The Conversation Media Group
Copyright: The Author
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