Female Genital Mutilation in Indonesia

Today seems to be a day for really bad news. First it was the declar­a­tion from Anwar that he would be okay if those douchebags from PAS were able to get their supreme leader into the highest polit­ical office in the land, now I have to read about the pre­val­ence of female gen­ital mutil­a­tion (FGM) in neigh­bour­ing Indonesia.

Warn­ing, read­ing this art­icle may make you phys­ic­ally ill.

Dur­ing the morn­ing, 248 Indone­sian girls undergo the same ordeal. Sum­i­nah is the old­est, the young­est is just five months. It is April 2006 and the occa­sion is a mass cere­mony to per­form sunat per­em­puan or “female cir­cum­cision” that has been held annu­ally since 1958 by the Bandung-based Yay­asan Assa­laam, an Islamic found­a­tion that runs a mosque and sev­eral schools. The found­a­tion holds the event in the lunar month of the Prophet Muhammad’s birth­day, and pays par­ents 80,000 rupiah (£6) and a bag of food for each daugh­ter they bring to be cut.

Evid­ently, the prac­tice is already unap­peal­ing when object­ively eval­u­ated, that the uni­ver­sal douchebags run­ning this scheme have to pay people to do it. Reli­gion truly thrives in con­di­tions of poverty.

It is neces­sary to con­trol women’s sexual urges,” says Hakim, a stern, bespec­tacled man in a fez. “They must be chaste to pre­serve their beauty.”

Because these people have an infant­ile atti­tude towards sex, and being of a reli­gion and cul­ture that rein­forces the suprem­acy of male pleas­ure, they sin­cerely think it is a legit­im­ately bene­fi­cial prac­tice to use sharp objects on a vagina.

Although Indone­sia is not a coun­try where FGM is widely repor­ted, the prac­tice is endemic. Two nation­wide stud­ies car­ried out by pop­u­la­tion research­ers in 2003 and 2010 found that between 86 and 100% of house­holds sur­veyed sub­jec­ted their daugh­ters to gen­ital cut­ting, usu­ally before the age of five. More than 90% of adults said they wanted the prac­tice to continue.

What. The. Fuck.

In early 2011, Indonesia’s par­lia­ment effect­ively reversed the ban on FGM by approv­ing guidelines for trained doc­tors on how to per­form it. The rationale was that, since the ban had failed, issu­ing guidelines would “safe­guard the female repro­duct­ive sys­tem”, offi­cials said. Indonesia’s largest Muslim organ­isa­tion, the Nahd­latul Ulama, also issued an edict telling its 30 mil­lion fol­low­ers that it approved of female gen­ital cut­ting, but that doc­tors “should not cut too much”.

This is a dis­grace. Indone­sia is clearly not a safe place to grow up if you hap­pen to be born with two X chromosomes.

The art­icle gets pro­gress­ively more enra­ging the more one reads it. It was as if I was read­ing the set­ting to a medi­eval era film set in the Middle East before the advent of civilization.

I actu­ally live right next to these people? That thought dis­gusts me.

  • Kennethkhoo10
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    Any other bene­fits? “Oh yes,” she said, with a tink­ling laugh. “My grand­mother always said that cir­cum­cised women cook more deli­cious rice.“