Mandatory virginity inspections could be coming to Sumatra.

So…this is a thing.

A plan to make female high school students undergo mandatory virginity tests has been met with outrage from activists, who argue that it discriminates against women and violates their human rights.

Education chief Muhammad Rasyid, of Prabumulih district in south Sumatra put forward the idea, describing it as “an accurate way to protect children from prostitution and free sex”. He said he would use the city budget to begin tests early next year if MPs approved the proposal.

How does a virginity inspection protect high school students from prostitution?  Do they imagine that the only motivation a high school student might have for losing her virginity is prostitution?  That’s like prohibiting all food to protect people from unhealthy diets.

And since when is free sex something for which someone needs protection?  You generally need protection from things that hurt you, not from things that are fun.  This is why we protect people from murder, but not from watching Dr. Who.  So protection from STIs and such?  Hell yes!  But protection from sex?  That’s not protection, it’s intrusion.

“This is for their own good,” Rasyid said. “Every woman has the right to virginity … we expect students not to commit negative acts.”

A woman’s right to virginity would only be under assault if the state were forcing them to have sex, which isn’t happening.  Women also have a right to personal autonomy, which is violated when the state is insisting that they shouldn’t have sex if they choose to do so.  And if you think an invasive test to make sure a woman’s hymen is intact is less of a violation than consensual sex, it might be hard for people to buy the idea that you’re in it to protect these women.

What could cause that kind of perversion of compassion?

The plan has met with some support from local politicians, who said the test would help cut down on “rampant” promiscuity in the district.

“Virginity is sacred, thus it’s a disgrace for a [female] student to lose her virginity before getting married,” Hasrul Azwar of the Islamist Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) told the Jakarta Post.

Oh yeah.  It is no surprise that where you find a cult-like and totalitarian obsession with virginity, you can count on finding religion just around the corner.  And lest you think this is an isolated incident, it’s not:

It is the third plan of its kind in Muslim-majority Indonesia, where similar drafts were proposed in West Java in 2007, and again in Sumatra in 2010, but dropped after a public outcry.

And the arguments in opposition are strange:

“There are female students who may have lost their virginity due to an accident − it is not their fault,” South Sumatra legislative council deputy speaker HA Djauhari told local media.

How does one lose their virginity by accident?  It seems to me you could lose it intentionally or by having it forced on you (speaking of protecting people from harm).  But accidentally?  Does anybody ever go to the store for eggs and wind up having sex by mistake?

I suspect what they meant was that the hymen could be broken for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with sex, which is true.  But so what?  Why are those reasons better?  Who thinks “Oh good!  She broke her hymen in a painful accident and not while at least getting some pleasure out of it!  Thank goodness!”?

The National Commission for Child Protection also denounced the plan as an attempt to curry “popularity” among religious conservatives, and called the move “excessive”.

Politicians casting liberty to the wolves in order to gain favor with people who almost certainly believe religion is the key to compassion and morality?  Now I’ve heard everything.

*sigh*  There are so many propositions so offensive to the notion of fairness, so dismissive of human well-being, that would be rejected out of hand if not for the presence of religion.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Laury Plant

    I think the ‘accidentally not a virgin’ claim is a broken hymen equals ‘not-a-virgin’. It’s stupid. Redonky stupid. But kinda common with the ignorant idiots that think a sharp blow to the pelvis could somehow invalidate a girl’s ‘purity’.

  • tyler

    how does one test for virginity in the first place? measuring the size of the hymen opening? wouldn’t that only tell you if someone had had sex recently or regularly? and even then isn’t it only telling you that something was inserted up there (e.g. a dildo)? i’m clearly not savvy enough about female anatomy to be able to figure this out. either way all of this sounds ridiculously invasive.

  • Loqi

    prostitution and free sex

    So paying for it is bad, and not paying for it is bad. You know, I’m starting to think religious fanatics have something against sex in general…

    Every woman has the right to virginity

    I have the right to not have my home invaded by an intruder. This, of course, means I am not allowed to invite a friend into my house.

    • storm

      You’re “starting to think” that?

  • baal

    “Virginity is sacred”
    I swear that ‘sacred’ is a giant red flag to me these days. Whatever is being called sacred isn’t and someone is trying to pull a fast one or at least keep folks from making rational assessments of whatever on the table for discussion.

  • Highlander

    How do you interview candidates for that job? Seriously?
    Q: “Why do you think you are qualified to inspect the genitals of highschool girls for virginity?”
    A: “Well I’ve always enjoyed looking at and touching the genitals of highschool girls, especially the virgins, so I thought I’d make a career out of it.”

    • baal

      What could possibly go wrong?

  • Jasper

    … only from the mind of a religious nut, can such concepts be born.

  • Loqi

    But what are the authorities in Sumatra doing to protect *my* virginity? I feel so unprotected and vulnerable. I could be taken advantage of by my own choices at any time!

    • storm

      Exactly! That’s why we must inspect your genitals regularly to make sure you aren’t doing something we don’t approve of.

  • Daniel Schealler

    Also: It’s possible for a woman to have had penetrative sex with a penis or dildo without breaking her hymen if she (and her partner, assuming there is one) are careful about it.

    This whole ‘virginity test’ thing is bullshit: A sex-negative and misogynistic policy justified by nothing more than sex-negative and misogynistic cultural values and expectations.

    Pisses me off so much, and I don’t even HAVE a hymen.

  • jenny

    And what is the test for the boys virginity?
    Or what is the punishment for the boy who destroyed a girl’s virginity?

  • jenny

    I wonder why the Christians calendars have women saints called “virgin”, while there is no man saint called “virgin” ?
    Isn’t virginity important for men, too?