A 17 year-old Indonesian gymnast training for a sport event was sent home on grounds she was no longer a virgin. A claim rejected by officials who insisted it was over disciplinary issues.
Shalfa Avrila Sania, 17, had been due to leave for the biennial Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines until she was dismissed suddenly from training, her lawyer and mother said.
“The coach said my daughter always goes out late with her male friends and an interrogation showed she was no longer a virgin” Reuters reported.
“I was shocked. I want my daughter’s name cleared,” the mother-of-two added.
Dismissal was due to performance not “Virginity”
Indonesia’s sports ministry denied the claim, saying the dismissal was due to performance and disciplinary issues.
“We will take firm action if the athlete was sent back due to questions over her virginity. Because this is a matter of privacy, dignity and has nothing to do with performance.”
Kurniawati said her daughter had won nearly 50 medals since she took up the sport when she was eight. She highly rejected doubts over her daughters performance.
The family has sent a letter to the ministry to protest her dismissal alongside a medical report. The report showed her hymen was intact, their lawyer Imam Muklas said by phone.
The East Java Gymnastics coaching squad has since conveyed an apology and welcomed her back to the team.
Youth and Sports Ministry said in an official statement that the athlete’s parents and their lawyer, Imam Muklas, and the coach squad agreed to make peace.
The 17 year-old Gymnast is to compete in the upcoming 2020 National Games (PON).
Virginity Tests on Muslim Women
Parts of Indonesia – the world’s most populous Muslim country – remain conservative and some still value female virginity highly. Although per-marital sex is not uncommon among the younger generation.
Human rights groups have previously opposed “virginity tests” on Indonesian women. They report that those seeking to join the police or military, are tested. Activist sat the tests are degrading and the practice is unscientific.
Other attempts to introduce virginity tests on students in some Indonesian schools faced opposition, including from among Islamic clerics.