An Indonesian official is facing possible sanctions Thursday after she warned women they could get pregnant by swimming in a pool where a man with “strong sperm” had ejaculated.
Sitti Hikmawatty, a child protection commission member, drew controversy and online ridicule after her unscientific comments to a major media outlet last week.
“In a swimming pool, there’s a certain kind of sperm that is very strong,” Hikmawatty told Tribunnews.com during a video interview about teen pregnancies.
“If a person is aroused and ejaculates [in the pool] a pregnancy can happen even though there is no sexual penetration.”
Online, some men pledged to buy condoms before heading to the pool, while a picture of shark-shaped sperm closing in on a female swimmer – parodying a poster for the 1975 movie Jaws – went viral.
“Not all men are aroused when they’re swimming with women,” health influencer Blog Dokter told his 1.7 million Twitter followers in a rebuke to Hikmawatty’s comments.
“But even if a man was aroused and ejaculated in a pool the sperm would quickly die in chlorinated water.”
While Hikmawatty quickly retracted her remarks, a three-member government commission has been assembled to decide if the former university professor will be sanctioned.
“This should serve as a lesson for all officials to be extra careful when they make public statements,” the newly formed commission’s chairman Susanto, who goes by one name, told AFP Thursday.