Indonesian military defends 'virginity test'

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Indonesian Military Defends Virginity Test

Indonesia's top military commander is defending a controversial test that aims to determine if a female recruit is a virgin before allowing her to join the armed forces.

The BBC explains that it is standard practice for young females aspiring to serve in the military or police force to submit to the virginity test, which is also referred to as the "two-finger test," in which they strip naked and have their genitalia examined by a doctor.

According to Human Rights Watch research, the military has also used the test on fiancees of military officers before marriage and some high schools have been known to test female students before graduation.

General Moeldoko responded to a letter from HRW condemning the practice, saying the test is a, quote, "measure of morality."

According to The Jakarta Globe Moeldoko admitted that there was "no direct link between a woman being a virgin and her abilities as a member of the armed forces." It is simply a sign of a woman's morals — which is one of three key traits needed to serve, along with academic abilities and physical strength.

And according to the armed forces information chief, it's also a matter of national security.

He told local media, "If it is not restricted this way, then someone with a bad habit [meaning sexual intercourse] will become military personnel. Soldiers are a nation's defenders."

Basya also noted that sex before marriage would negatively affect a woman's mental state, either because of the experience or a contracted disease, making her unfit to serve.

But Human Rights Watch says the tests may do more mental harm to a woman than pre-marital relations. The organization interviewed several women who declared the test was "humiliating," "painful and traumatic" and even called it "torture."

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