Outraged activists in Indonesia have accused education chief Muhammad Raysid of promoting “sexual violence against women” after he proposed that schoolgirls undergo virginity tests to enter senior high school in response to the recent arrest of six high school students for alleged prostitution.
Rasyid, education head of Prabumulih city on Sumatra Island, said the test is “for their own good.”
The plan would still need the approval of the city mayor and local parliament.
“If it is possible, the virginity tests will be carried out next year,” said Rasyid. This would affect female students aged 16 to 19, the majority of whom are Muslim.
“We will try to include the plan in our 2014 budget,” said Rasyid. “We will carry it out every year.”
National Education Minister Muhammad Nuh condemned the proposal.
“If you want to protect your children from negative influence, there are others ways. This is not wise," said Nuh.
Deputy head of the National Commission on Violence Against Women Masruchah said virginity tests are a “form of sexual violence against women.”
“It is degrading and discriminatory against women,” said Masruchah.
In 2010, the same measure was proposed in Sumatra’s Jambi province in order for girls to get into high school, but it was dropped after the central government showed opposition.
The city’s deputy mayor, Ardiansyah Fikri, said that local authorities did not support the measure. However, Prabumulih is taking measures to cut down on public displays of affection.
“Young boys and girls are not shy about behaving intimately in public,” Fikri said. “Their morality is already out of control.”
In March 2012, the Indonesian religious affairs minister proposed a ban on mini-skirts, calling it an “anti-pornography” measure.