Indonesia is trying to double the number of women in its national police force, but female applicants are forced to undergo the humiliating and degrading experience of a virginity test as part of their training.
“The young women are led into an examination hall, 20 to a group, where they’re asked to strip down to their bra and underwear,” explains Andreas Harsono, an Indonesian journalist and researcher who reported on the practice for Human Rights Watch.
“Then, two by two, they’re asked to go into a smaller room where they are asked to take off their underwear. They’re then told to like down on the bed and spread their legs while a female examiner inserts two fingers to check the vagina of the applicant,” Harsono says.
The practice has been going on for decades in Indonesia; Harsono says the only thing that’s changed is the official explanation. “These days, Indonesian police officials say the test is not a virginity test but a reproductive health exam to see if there are diseases,” he says.