Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sorry, You Can't Go to School If You're Not a Virgin

A new proposal in the province of Jambi, Indonesia would require any woman trying to attend a state-funded school to take a “virginity test.” Should a woman fail this test, she would be barred from attending these schools. Excuse me?

This is absolutely one of the most ridiculous ideas that I have ever heard. How can a woman be banned from attending a public school based on some arbitrary notion of virginity? First of all, the policy’s creator, legislator Bambang Bayu Suseno, has not announced any reasonable way of determining someone’s virginity. Secondly, I noticed that there is no proposal to bar young men who have lost their virginity from attending public school, which just continues the double standard that it is okay for men to have sex outside of marriage but not okay for women. Bambang claims that one of the key reasons that he drafted this policy was that “parental and school supervision” over young people in Indonesia is too weak and that this is the only way to ensure proper morality, and regrettably many legislators have supported this idea. Fortunately, not all involved in the government are behind this issue; the provincial secretary spokesperson of Jambi stated, “Every citizen has the right to education as this is mandated in law. So, everyone, virgin or not, has the right to go to school.”

This law is atrocious for many reasons, none of which would solve any of the issues that the lawmaker is seeking to, which he claims is mainly sexual exploitation of women by men. How is stopping women from going to school going to solve that? Preventing people from getting a public education is totally horrible, given that the point of public education is so that everyone can attend school and learn. By stopping people from receiving an education, Bambang would be creating a large population of uneducated people who would therefore have greater difficulties in life. There is also no accurate way of determining whether or not someone has had sex, given that the hymen breaking can occur due to any number of factors aside from sexual intercourse. Virginity itself is a social construct, so judging young women's qualifications to attend school based on some arbitrary standard makes no sense whatsoever. The government has no business involving itself with young peoples’ sex lives, especially given that Indonesia is not a theocracy but a republic, which means that even some notion of religious standards on sexual behavior cannot (Or at the very least SHOULD not) carry any weight in lawmaking. Bambang’s policy is completely flawed and will benefit nobody, and I sincerely hope that it is rejected.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is the best post I have seen on this blog to date. I 'pressed' it at Sex Advocate -