BEIJING — Indonesia’s military chief has defended invasive virginity tests for female recruits as “a good thing” and the only way to judge their morality.
General Moeldoko dismissed international outcry over the tests, which are undertaken to determine whether a woman’s hymen is intact.
“So what’s the problem? It’s a good thing, so why criticize it?” the Jakarta Globe quoted General Moeldoko as saying.
The general was responding to an international campaign waged by Human Rights Watch, which has denounced the virginity tests as “discriminatory and invasive.”
HRW said recruits to Indonesia's 500,000-strong military are “required to strip naked and submit to the ‘two-finger’ test as part of the military medical screening examination.”
“The Indonesian armed forces should recognize that harmful and humiliating ‘virginity tests’ on women recruits do nothing to strengthen national security,” the organization's women’s rights advocacy director, Nisha Varia, said in a statement.
“The Indonesian military should immediately end the use of so-called virginity tests, which violate the prohibition of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under international human rights law,” the statement added.
But the Indonesian military leader has insisted a woman’s morality — as determined by the virginity test — remains one of the three key traits, along with academic aptitude and physical strength, for serving in the country's armed forces.
The virginity test “is a measure of morality. There’s no other way,” the Jakarta Globe quoted General Moeldoko as saying.
Human Rights Watch, however, cites interviews with military wives and female officers in Indonesia to support their contention that the invasive virginity tests have caused “physical and psychological trauma.”