Planned Virginity Tests in School Spark Brouhaha

Indonesian education chief's idea doesn't go over well
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2013 1:15 PM CDT
Indonesian Muslim students line up as they practice a traditional Acehnese dance called "saman" at a high school in Banda Aceh.   (AP Photo/Heri Juanda)

(Newser) – It's a decidedly more invasive test than one usually finds in schools: Sumatran education chief Muhammad Rasyid wants female high school students to undergo mandatory virginity tests "to protect children from prostitution and free sex," the Guardian reports. Al-Jazeera notes that he's backed off the idea since it predictably attracted the ire of activists who argued that it targets victims of sexual assault and violates the universal right to education. "Every woman has the right to virginity," argued Rasyid. Boys were omitted from the plan.

The plan was to examine the hymen of every female student, aged 16 to 19, each year until graduation, to cut down on promiscuity. But Rasyid is backing off that, saying, "We were only approving the request made by the parents of a student after she was accused of no longer being a virgin." Similar plans have been dropped in the past, and though this one gained support from some local politicians, Indonesia's education and culture minister criticized it, calling for "a wiser way to address the issue of teen sex." (Read more virginity test stories.)

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