The World Health Organisation and the United Nations have warned doctors and communities against performing virginity tests on girls and women, saying the medically unnecessary and harmful procedure violates human rights and ethical standards. In a joint statement issued during the World Congress of Gynaecology and Obstetrics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday, the organisations called for a ban of practices that are unscientific and violate human rights. But some women are born without a hymen, and the membrane can also be ruptured if a girl engages in curtains sports or uses of a tampon. Women and girls are often forced to undergo virginity tests for various reasons, including requests by parents or potential partners to establish their suitability for marriage, and sometimes even by potential employers — the military, for instance — to determine their eligibility.
Updated October 25, Women looking to become police officers in Indonesia are reported to have to undergo an invasive "two-finger" virginity test and be "pretty" as a part of the recruitment process. Despite the tests not being recorded or on the books as an official requirement, it is still conducted throughout the country under the guise of a "morality or physical examination". Andreas Harsono from the Human Rights Watch said Indonesian police believe that society will not accept a female police officer who has an active sex life or used to be a sex worker. The test is conducted by inserting two fingers into the vagina to see if the woman's hymen is still intact — a method which has long been criticised as invasive while also not being able to accurately determine a woman's virginity either. Indonesian woman Zakia — whose last name is not included to protect her identity — told Human Rights Watch in a complaint obtained by the ABC that she had failed her test when she applied to become a police officer earlier this year.
In a prison in the Balkh province of Afghanistan , more than girls and young women are crammed into dirty prison cells. Many have been here for months — and some for more than a year. When they are eventually released, they face a future defined by shame, exclusion and destitution. Their crime is that they all failed a virginity test performed by a health professional at a clinic or hospital.
Senior military and police officers in Indonesia came forward this week to reveal the nation's security forces were still gauging the "morality" of female applicants by imposing "virginity tests" in the hiring process. Human Rights Watch HRW researchers first exposed how widespread the so-called "psychological examinations" for "mental health and morality reasons" were in , but since then the government has failed to take the necessary steps to prohibit the practice. It's a good thing, so why criticise it?