No More Discourse about Virginity Test

As a country that cling to eastern culture, Indonesian people are already bound by many norms and unwritten rules since ancient times. As the example, holding tight to the religious values as the basis of all deeds, the youngster must have more respect for the elderly as a form of good manner, keeping the family’s honor, or be friendly to neighbors and helpful to each other. And thanks to the legacy of a patriarchal culture that has taken root in Indonesia, the examples that mentioned earlier can even make longer list for women. Start from trivial rules such as keeping the low voice tone, comply with whatever the parents say, to a full devoted service for their husband for married women. The more docile towards the prevailing norms in society, the higher the honor that women bears. Unfortunately, the doctrine sometimes is used against women’s basic rights.

Just take a look at the virginity test issue which ignite people’s negative responses around mid August 2013. Prabumulih city’s Department of Education, South Sumatra, initiate to conduct virginity tests for female students. Although they used positive intentions as to improve morality, to reduce the number of pre-marital sex and to prevent prostitution among students, virginity test is still a violation against women’s basic rights. Besides unfairness because there will never be a virginity test for male students, virginity test for female students is a robbery act of women’s control over their own bodies. Public outrage is growing when it was later revealed that the virginity tests conducted in the framework for the local budget submissions (Anggaran Pendapatan Belanja Daerah/APBD) 2014. So women’s body is not only considered as an object that can be easily ruled, but now also has become a political commodity?

The idea of virginity test is clearly incompatible with many laws that protect human rights, especially women’s right. As an example, Law No. 7 of 1984 on Ratification of Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. What about a girl who is not virgin anymore? Despite whatever may lost her virginity, is she then could not get any formal education? And what about the fate of the woman who was born without a hymen? Is it still relevant if a woman nowadays is judged by her virginity? If the answer is “yes”, then it is such a setback for modern civilized society’s way of thinking. In today’s world, the definitions of beauty has make women depressed. There is an ideal body-not ideal, pretty-unpretty face, which makes women obsessed to have a perfect physical appearance. And sometimes they do anything, even when it has negative impact like taking diet pill recklessly or using cosmetics with hazardous materials. And let’s imagine how if there’s an idea that glorify virginity? Hymen surgery could be a new commodity that answers everything.

Virginity is an important part of a woman’s body. But it is not the benchmark that we can use to assess someone’s personality. Education is a human right. And it would be very unfair if the future of a woman determined by whether she still has a hymen or not. Man and woman are equal. Their worth is determined by set of attitudes and behavior in everyday society, from their life principles, and how they create something out of nothing. This paper is made so that the discourse of virginity test will not happen again in the future. Because after Prabumulih, it is also revealed that Pamekasan, East Java, was planning the same thing. Fortunately, the Minister of Education, M. Nuh, has emphatically said that he will give legal sanction to the schools that conduct virginity tests. The municipal government of Prabumulih and Pamekasan should follow the example given by the Department of Education in Banten and Bengkulu. They even allow pregnant female students to take the final exam. That’s how we appreciate human right. That’s how we should guarantee the future of the citizens.

About Ika 12 Articles
Ika Virginaputri is an independent writer and current-affairs observer for the Dekker Center. She lives in Jakarta and writing for the Dekker Center and national and international media.

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