African Women Voices

Ever Heard of the Virginity Test?

I have heard and watched scaring things about the treatment of women when it comes to their virginity. Some information were passed to me through the Iranian literature which I extensively relied on for my MA dissertation. Other information came from the recounts of women from the Democratic Republic of Congo who have suffered rape from the age of 11 months to as old as 90. 

However what I read about the virginity test in Indonesia definitely shocked me profoundly. Basically, in order to join the army women are required to be virgin (yes, you heard well). And if there are doubts a woman is an actual virgin (which is always the case), they are tested to check. The practice was brought to light by the organisation Human Rights Watch and amplified by an article published on the Guardian.

What does the practice consist on?

Simple, a doctor insert two fingers in the women’s vagina and check if it’s all in order. Yes, once again, you read right: a man inserts his two fingers into the intimate parts of a woman and  make sure she hasn’t been touched before that. It’s all a matter of “understanding their mentality,” they say. If the woman is found not virgin she is not sane and consequently not fit for the job in the army.

I’ll let you drive to the conclusion but please avoid the superficial and unreasoning “Indonesia is such a *!%& country!” ‘Cause that makes no sense. Try and come up with some thoughtful reasonings based on keywords like: machismo, rape, mentality, equality.

6 comments on “Ever Heard of the Virginity Test?

  1. Ilona Sābera
    26 May 2015

    it is used as a political weapon to oppress women.

  2. Ilona Sābera
    7 June 2015

    you can see this video for a testimony During the revolution in Egypt and in several cases afterwards as well female protesters where ‘arrested’ by the military (under the auspice of the current president, army general at that time) and had to undergo ‘virginity tests’. Military personnel in tv said smth like “these girls are not like your or my daughter, they go to Tahrir to sleep in tents with boys and have sex”. so these sexual assaults on women by the military doctors where do discredit them in public and humiliate them so no female protester will dare to go out in the streets again.

    • Thanks for sharing the video Ilona, it is appalling! I’d love if you could write few lines for my blog about this. Would you? Thanks

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