A senior child protection official in Indoniesia is facing calls to resign after she reportedly claimed women could get pregnant from swimming in the same pool as men with “an especially strong type of male sperm”.
Sitti Hikmawatty, the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) commissioner for health, narcotics and addictive substances, made the claim during an interview with local news site Tribun Jakarta last week.
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.
“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,” she added.
According to the Jakarta Post, Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) executive Nazar said it would be “impossible” for women to be impregnated in a swimming pool.
She said: “The water in swimming pools contain chlorine and other chemicals. Sperm cannot survive in these conditions.
A popular doctor and health influencer in Indonesia, known as Blog Dokter, said in response to Ms Hikmawatty’s claims: “Once again, I remind you, if you do not understand health problems, it’s better to be quiet. Instead of your comments causing anxiety and panic.
“I will emphasise here, swimming with the opposite sex will not cause pregnancy. Not all men who swim ejaculate and sperm cannot live in chlorinated pool water, let alone swim into the vagina.”
Ms Hikmawatty issued an apology on Sunday after her claims drew backlash from the Indonesian public and the medical community.
“I apologise to the public for giving an incorrect statement. It was a personal statement and not from KPAI. I hereby revoke the statement,” she said. “I plead with all parties not to disseminate it further or even make it available.”
Susanto, chairman of KPAI, also issued a statement to clarify Ms Hikmawatty’s claims did not represent the organisation.
He added: “We hereby state that KPAI’s understanding and attitude are not reflected in the online news narrative.”
However, some Indonesian netizens are calling for Ms Hikmawatty to resign or be sacked for her uneducated claims as they caused embarrassment after going viral.
“Now that this story has gone viral all over the world, Sitti should indeed step down,” said one Twitter user.
“If you don’t step down, the whole world will think all KPAI members are stupid.”
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