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.
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.