False Edification and a Woman’s Education in Indonesia

In the year 2014, it may be possible that female high school students in Indonesia will be required to pass a virginity test in order to continue their education. This test will be administered on a yearly basis until graduation to check if the girls’ hymens are intact. While there is no manner in which to physically check if a boy is a virgin, they will receive no means of interrogation regarding their sexual activity for it does not matter. Proponents of this proposal for girls say it is “for their own good.” Defending diversity and the country’s socially conservative culture in such a case is not a valid argument since it is denying an inalienable human right to education. Not only is this process violating, it is merely an assertion of power by means of sexuality; maintaining control and afflicting humiliation in order to deduce a woman’s self-worth down to her genitals.

Let me start my argument against this proposal by countering the claim that this is a means to protect girls. Muhammed Rasyid, an Education Chief in South Sumatra, propagates that this will “protect children from prostitution and free sex.” This invasive test would check for the presence of an intact hymen – how then would it be evident if a girl has been a victim of rape, used in prostitution, or is being promiscuous? How is it fair that a rape victim may be held accountable for the unjust advances of her persecutor? He will remain free and ambiguous to do as he pleases while an innocent girl will not be able to continue her schooling. Let’s not forget that some women are not even born with a hymen, so this is not even a completely valid means of checking for virginity. What would happen to such girls? Not only would they be disgraced for their “lack of morality”, they would also be denied access to an education they deserve due to circumstances that are out of their hands. Furthermore, Rasyid’s claim on protection contradicts the nature of these tests. Institutions having the power to expel by tentatively intruding girls on a yearly basis does not sound like fortification. This is solely a means to threaten girls in their designated place in society as to not have to deal with the consequences of premarital sex, especially due to a lack of birth control. And don’t even get me started on the scandal it would be if a woman is not a virgin when she is married.

It is unfortunate that women are esteemed based on their abstinence. Although many societies still promote such conservative ideologies, castigation should never be a consequence of an individual’s personal choosing to engage in sexual activity. Would it not seem more rational to educate women who are sexually active in order to prevent unplanned pregnancy? By complete elimination of schooling, not only is the woman at a loss, but so is a society which cannot care for the number of children which are conceived.  All students should receive proper sex education so that they know how to protect unwanted pregnancies as well as sexually transmitted infections even if pre-marital sex is looked down upon in their cultures. Providing such education would not promote sexual activity, but would instead provide individuals with proper resources to take care of their bodies.  Since when does a student need to be ethically celestial in order to receive an education? Education is an unequivocal right regardless of a person’s adjective physicality.  Morality is subjective and such a personal subject as an individual’s sex life is not the schools’, governments’, nor the public sectors’ concern; it is solely that individual’s concern.

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