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