AN INDONESIAN child protection boss has claimed women can get pregnant from swimming in the same pool as men with "strong sperm".
Sitti Hikmawatty made the statement during an interview with Tribun news, saying that women should be wary of the risk of unwanted pregnancies.
She said: “There is an especially strong type of male sperm that may cause […] pregnancy in a swimming pool,”
“Even without penetration, men may become sexually excited [by women in the pool] and ejaculate, therefore causing a pregnancy.”
She went on to say that his type of pregnancy was more likely to happen if the women in question had reached an age of being sexually active.
“If women are in a phase where they are sexually active, [such a pregnancy] may occur. No one knows for sure how men react to the sight of women in a swimming pool.”
Sitti, commissioner for health of Indonesia's Child Protection Commission (KPAI), also went on to wrongly state that in the US, women who killed people but were going through PMS were acquitted of their crimes.
Contraception in Indonesia
It is extremely difficult to get proper contraception in Indonesia, including the morning after pill, due to the strong religious and cultural taboo's around sex in the predominantly Muslim country.
There is a strong "no sex before marriage" culture even in urban areas, with unmarried couples being too ashamed to buy condoms for fear of judgment.
According to the Jakarta Post, only 60 per cent of all sexually active Indonesian couples were found to be using any contraceptive at all in 2017.
Condoms are only used by 3.23 per cent of Indonesians, the open sale of which has been under political fire for years to discourage young and unmarried people from having sex.
At Muslim convenience stores across Indonesia, condoms are not sold. One store in Depok, West Java, announced the reason: For the greater good of the Muslims.
In some areas of the country condoms are only sold to married couples by law.
Sex education is rarely taught in schools and many young people report that sex before marriage is seen as "a sin".
Hikmawattys series of bizarre claims were immediately shut down by the public, including medics and doctors.
Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) executive Nazar told Antara news agency on Sunday that it was “impossible” for women to get pregnant in a swimming pool.
“The water in swimming pools […] contains chlorine and other chemicals. Sperm cannot survive in these conditions.”
Many have mocked Ms Hikmawatty over the dangers of women getting pregnant during the recent floods that have submerged the city during the rainy season.
Web comic artist KomikFaktap was quick to draw upon the scandal, replacing the Jaws title with AWAS (Bahasa for 'watch out' or 'danger') with a caption that translates to "The importance of proper sex education".
Others have called for Ms Hikmawattys immediate dismissal from the KPAI.
#PecatSittiHikmawatty (fire Sitti Hikmawatty) was the top trending topic on Twitter in Indonesia over the weekend.
Yusuf_dumdum tweeted: “This is the dumbest statement, one that shames the KPAI. Commissioners like [Sitti] need to be removed from office. Agree?”
Another Twitter user, jr_kw19, wrote: “I’m baffled as to how the KPAI is still run by people who think this way.”
Ms Hikmawatty first tried to defend what she said, saying it was based on a study, but later admitted that the study does not exist.
She now faces an ethics committee over the issue and has since apologized for her “incorrect statement” which she retracted on Sunday following the backlash.
She added: "I plead with all parties not to disseminate it further or even make it available."
The KPAI itself has issued an official response saying that Sitti’s statement did not represent the organization.
KPAI chairman Susanto wrote: “We hereby state that KPAI’s understanding and attitude are not reflected in the online news narrative."
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