The chief educator in Prabumulih city, South Sumatra, said he never planned a mass virginity test for female students at a senior high school in the city and claimed that the media had misunderstood his statement.
“We never planned a virginity test for female students,” Prabumulih Education Agency chief HM Rasyid said in a written statement sent to The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
“We were only approving the request made by the parents of a student after she was accused of no longer being a virgin by a suspect in a human trafficking case.”
Rasyid said he agreed with the demand because he did not want to see any false accusations against three females who were arrested in the case and claimed to be students.
“We have also never planned to use the 2014 city budget,” he added.
He said virginity tests should not be carried out considering religious, human rights and justice aspects.
“Besides, it is also not educative for the female students or their psychological and mental development,” he added.
Rasyid said the fiasco started when news emerged on the arrest of six women in a human-trafficking network of which three claimed to be students.
The following day, another report emerged on a couple of senior high school students publicly showing their affection while still wearing their school uniforms.
Two days later, a suspect in the human trafficking case said that all six women who were arrested with him were no longer virgins. He claimed to get the information from the women themselves, whom he called his “patients”.
Rasyid said it was the suspect’s statement which triggered anger in one of the students being netted in the human trafficking case.
The parents were displeased their daughter was labelled as not a virgin anymore. The parents were willing to prove the daughter’s virginity and would sue the suspect.
He said that the three students had been returned to their families while the suspect had been released on the grounds that there were no transactions taking place.
Rasyid said he agreed with the parents’ plan to check their daughter’s virginity to prevent false accusations in the future.
“The support does not mean that the Prabumulih Education Agency will directly be involved in the virginity test for that particular female student or that we will conduct such tests for all female students or prospective students at senior high schools in Prabumulih,” he said in the statement.
“The support was only an approval or morale boost for the parents to conduct a virginity test on their daughter.”
The plan drew heavy criticism from various quarters, from the Education and Culture Minister Mohammad Nuh to local ulama.
“What should be done if [a female student] had done it [had sex]? Should [she] be banned from school, or what?” Nuh asked reporters at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Hasrul Azwar, member of the House of Representatives’ Commission VIII overseeing religion from the United Development Party (PPP) , said that it was necessary for schools to carry out virginity tests once in a while due to rampant promiscuity among students.
“Virginity is sacred, thus, it’s a disgrace for a [female] student to lose her virginity before getting married,” he said. “I suggest the [Prabumulih] schools only inform parents about the results of the test. They don’t need to publicly announce the results.”