Stop ‘Virginity Exams’ of Women in Indonesia

Female Police

Target: Chief of Indonesian National Police, General Sutarman

Goal: Ban unethical virginity tests conducted on female police force cadets

The long standing abusive practice of physically testing a woman’s virginity status in the Indonesian National Police needs to stop. Not only is this practice unethical, it is humiliating, violates several human rights, and is traumatic to the women. This practice has no place in the police force and Chief of Police General Sutarman needs to ban these tests immediately.

Called the “two-finger test,” female police recruits are ushered into a private police hospital where they strip naked in front of 20 strangers. Bras and underwear are to be taken off, unless the woman is menstruating. While the strangers are all women, this does not make the test any less traumatic or humiliating. The female recruits are then asked to sit on a table that is used for women giving birth. The female doctors then inserts two fingers into the woman’s vagina to see if the hymen is still intact. Women who were interviewed by Human Rights Watch stated that the test was extremely painful, and there were some recruits who fainted from the stress.

Under Indonesian law, female police recruits are required to go through this test, but “failing” does not mean the woman is expelled from the police force. It required by law, and while it has been protested by several prominent female leaders, the Police Chief General Sutarman has done nothing on the matter. It is not the first time this issue has surfaced and it is certainly not the last. Whether a woman is a virgin or not should not matter; this condition does not help or hinder her ability to perform her job. What will hinder her job performance is the fact that she is being treated unfairly and with discrimination. This archaic practice needs to stop, especially since Indonesia intends to hire more female police officers.


Dear Chief of Police General Sutarman,

For several years, prominent female activists have urged your police force to do away with an archaic and degrading law that requires female police recruits to be tested for their virginity. This test violates several human rights, including privacy and bodily rights. I do not understand how this test determines whether a woman is fit to be a police officer. All it does is traumatize the recruits.

I am writing this letter urging you to stop this practice at once. Your police force should be spending its money on training recruits instead of throwing it into these ridiculous tests. As the chief of police it is your responsibility to make sure that the work place is free of discrimination and not promoting such divisions.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Biswarup Ganguly via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. I have never heard of anything so absurd & humiliating. It is about time these women recruits told these male sexist voyeurs where to get off. Do men have to have one? This is so ridiculous and I find it hard to imagine ANY WOMAN submitting to this and if you do you are just encouraging these MCP’s…..what has your virginity or non-virginity got anything to do with doing a job?

  2. Michael Shaw says:

    In addition to all of the aforementioned, it’s totally inaccurate. A large number of girls and women (around 30%) do not have their hymens intact at the time of their first sexual vaginal penetration. Reasons for this include use of particular tampons, bike riding and horseriding. It is therefore a test that is as pointless as it is painful and undignified.

    • Ramona Paolini says:


      • I understand what you’re trying to say, Michael. I didn’t take it the wrong way. @Ramona, relax, he’s pointing a fact out. No need to get all hyper-angry-feminist on him…

      • Ramona, I think you misunderstood Michael Shaw’s post. I think Michael means that the test being performed on the recruits is totally inaccurate, not what posters have written in previous posts. He is correct about the 30% mentioned in his post. I think you were upset with his post due to a misunderstanding of his post. Thanks.

      • Ramona, read the comment properly. Michael is in fact supporting the idea that it is a ridiculous thing to test women.
        It is very true for very active women, of which I was one. Played a lot of sport when a teenager.
        Thank you for supporting us Michael.

    • Anke Mönkemöller says:

      Are you interested to identify yourself as a completely idiotic penis wearer, then go ahead with your denomination?!

      • Malcolm McFarlane says:

        Anke, your comment is pointless, tasteless and without basis, not to mention grammatically and logically flawed. Clearly you have been traumatised by a man at least once in your life. Now you hate us all. You lash out at a man who lends his heartfelt support to this cause.

        This abhorrent practice is carried out BY women, ON women, just as many genitally mutilated women lead other young females to the same suffering. Not a penis in sight, metaphorically speaking. Sure it is part of a larger patriarchal mind fuck, but THE WOMEN ALONE NEED TO FREE THEIR MINDS FROM THIS SELF IMPOSED RIDICULOUS INDIGNITY.

        Let the female cadets maintain all their human rights and dignity, so they can get on with denying the same human rights and dignity to West Papuans as part of the same style of genocide we saw Indonesia carry out in East Timor. Don’t be fooled by their slick TV advertising.

        Happy googling Brothers and Sisters.

        Freedom to West Papua.

        • What is happening to the poor West Papuans is an absolute disaster, something that is happening on Australia’s doorstep but our govt. is more interested in the US activities and in a war that we, I believe anyway, have no right to be in.
          I am also interested in your comment about women being the perpetrators of abhorrent practices on other women. Have read a few books and one ‘Desert Dawn’ by Waris Dirie talks about exactly that in her birth country Somalia. I am so sad that we do not support each other but are probably even more cruel than males in many instances. Men are not innocent at all but you would think that women would protect each other rather than the opposite.
          Same as with men and circumcision, my view only of course. I refused to have what I considered a barbaric ritual done on my son because his father and so on were circumcised. I stood by my decision and despite much pressure from one side of the family, I would not be swayed. There are sometimes medical reasons for things but as my son was healthy and was not going to have any problems, I wanted him as he was. Mother Nature is the best judge of how we should be, not some bloody tradition. My son was not going to be held or tied down to a cross and cut, not while I still had breath in my body.
          Ok rant over.

  3. I know we cannot generalize, there are kind and unkind people everywhere but I’m not only appalled by this practice. People in Indonesia torch dogs alive for consumption. I saw the video online and I could not sleep for weeks. Indonesia, place hit by earthquakes and tsunamis, I’m not surprised this happens. When people do not respect nature, then nature has ways to pay back.


    People need to vote unacting authorities and officials acting criminal irresponsibly to future generations and living creatures out of occupations ONCE AND FOR ALL!

  5. jon Phillips says:

    I may not be a woman but I understand the out rage. This is so wrong in so many ways. It is a violation of woman’s rights. I believe no woman should never have to endure this. This makes me sick.

    • Thank you for supporting women. Takes a true man to stand up for the rights of abused women everywhere.
      I will also stand up for any wrongs done to our men of this world.

  6. Karen Remnant says:

    Bloody disgusting! I fail to see what difference it makes. Just another way some ‘men’ like to degrade and humiliate women. Are the men tested to see if they have a fully functional penis, one that is of a set size? Maybe they’d find that too humiliating??

  7. Laurie Garcia says:

    I wonder what the Male cadets would do if those doctors were shoving 2 fingers up their rear end to see if THEY were virgins, of a different sort….. I bet they would be raising hell over the humiliation!!!
    Same thing applies to these women – they are being violated!!!!

  8. Islam at its finest! Disgusting indeed!

    • No need to leave Islamophobic comments on this petition.

      • This is not “Islamophobic”. This is a valid criticism of Islam’s obsession with virginity and the control men exert over women.

        Try to shut down discussion of Islam will only bring more discussion of it. Try to be mature and respond intelligently, instead of manipulatively.

      • Wendy Waltenberg says:

        Why is is that no one is ever allowed to criticise Islam ?

        Maybe if Islamists would allow people to comment / criticise their religion it might help bring it in to the 21st century is instead of stagnating in darkness.

        • I believe it is attributed to Voltaire: “To learn who rules you, find out who you may not criticize.”

        • Listen, I’m Hindu not Muslim and writing an entire religion off as misogynistic is a very white feminist thing to do. Misogyny is rampant in all cultures and distancing the western world from the so called “savagery” of the middle east is not the solution to the problem.

        • Your use of “Islamist” to describe those who practice Islam really shows how enlightened you are on the religion.

      • Malcolm McFarlane says:

        It was not so very long ago that “christianity” had the same obsession with virginity… many still do, see some of the comments here.

        Its not the religion, its the frightened little pathetic male misogyny, trying to oppress women.

        Stand up Sisters!

  9. Maybe they should stick buttons up the means’ asses,but then again they mite enjoy that.

  10. Mens’ that is

  11. Ok let me try this again something is happening with my text…maybe they should stick batons up the men’s asses,but then again they mite like it.

  12. In this day and age, it deeply sickens me to the core that such a post requires signatures to prove it need be stopped. We are in a world that seems to be more off kilter by the day. Humans need to wake-up and realize such abuses can not continue against the defenseless,helpless, and vulnerable no matter what form or sex without believing karma does exist and awaits!!!

  13. Egyptian’s in the Muslim Brotherhood also forced women to undergo virginity tests, which were for the most part full sexual assaults.

    Indonesia is a largely Muslim population and obsession with female genitalia. Muslim Indonesians perform Female Genital Mutilation on girls.

    This is a one of many forms of control Muslim men assert over women.

  14. Obsession with virginity and ‘purity’ yet how many young girls are forced into marriage by people enjoying sex with underage girls, stop this humiliating process

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