A few years ago, a report about 16 girls being impregnated after a teenage ejaculated in a pool went viral. Well, the news was fake in its entirety, but it looks like people just don't learn and continue to challenge common sense. An Indonesian commissioner for health found herself in hot waters after making another foolish remark that brushed up the memory of a 2016 report.
Sitti Hikmawatty, the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) commissioner for health, narcotics and addictive substances, made a statement that didn't sit well with a lot of people and got a lot of backlash. She claimed that strong sperm can lead to women getting pregnant in a swimming pool without penetration.
"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," Hikmawatty was quoted as saying.
The child protection official later asked her statement be retracted after getting severe backlash and issued an apology.
"I apologise to the public for giving an incorrect statement. It was a personal statement and not from KPAI. I hereby revoke the statement. I plead with all parties not to disseminate it further or even make it available," she said.
Hikmawatty's statement on women getting pregnant in a swimming pool not only attracted a lot of flak on social media but was even educated on how impregnation works. Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) executive Nazar squashed the claims with facts.
"The water in swimming pools contain chlorine and other chemicals. Sperm cannot survive in these conditions," she said.
In response to Hikmawatty's original claims, Blog Dokter - a health influencer in Indonesia - said it is better to be quiet than spread misinformation, which can cause 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," Blog Dokter said on Twitter.