An Indonesian high-court judge [Muhammad Daming Sunusi] sparked international outrage when, during a recent interview for a position on the Supreme Court, he suggested that women might "enjoy" being raped. His comment [has] cost him his appointment, but [it] also serves to highlight the prevalence of sexist and misogynistic comments from authority figures.
Jimly Asshiddiqie, the former head of Indonesia's Constitutional Court,an institution that is supposed to exercise wisdom in the upholding and protection of Indonesia's most important document, its Constitution, offered some support to Sunusi by saying: "It's part of our culture to treat women inappropriately."
Earlier there was the announcement by Lhokseumawe Mayor Suaidi Yahya that he planned to enact a regional ordinance (qanun) that wouldl prohibit women from straddling motorcycles on the grounds that “it will provoke male drivers. It is also to protect women from undesirable conditions."
Such has been the derison in Twitterdom that the government will most probably use its power to revoke the by-law if it is ever enacted. Or maybe they'll consider adding a regulation to ensure increased safety for pillion passengers, such as seen in this 1967 ad.
Regular readers may recall that last November, I wrote in disgust about the prevalence of female circumcision in Indonesia. Shortly afterwards, the United Nations General Assembly's human rights committee approved, by general consensus, a resolution calling for a global ban on female cicumcision, calling the practice "harmful and a serious threat to the psychological, sexual and reproductive health of women and girls."
This past week, over at the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), Huzaemah, a member of MUI’s fatwa commission, called on the government not to abide by the (non-binding) ban.
He said that female circumcision was a religious obligation that should be done to control women’s sexual desire.
"A religious obligation"? So where does it say that in the Koran?. My researches can only find reference to men controlling their urges.
For example, here:
The Quran claims that Allah rewards those who restrain themselves from carrying out their lusts:
But as for him who feared standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from impure evil desires, and lusts. Verily, Paradise will be his abode.
S. 79:40-41 Hilali-Khan
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D. had this to say a dozen years ago: For Muslims, cliterodectomy and infibulation should be considered harâm (prohibited) practices and opposition to it should be part of our ongoing mandate to fight against superstition and oppression.
As to the mildest form of female circumcision, the risks to the girl's future ability to enjoy sexual relations with her husband must place it at best in the category of makrûh (disliked) practices. Since it has neither hygienic nor religious value, there is no justification for Muslims to engage in this painful and potentially harmful practice and it would be best to avoid it completely.
Although the attitudes of the MUI and other groups say much about the blinkered misogyny of certain self-styled and self-serving Muslim men in Indonesia, I did wonder if perhaps the birthrate in Aceh is considered too high by the authorities. I therefore tried to access the website of the National Population and Family Planning Board to find statistics which supported my thesis. Unfortunately, this was the message I got:
Many Thanks For Your Support And Attention
copyright 2013. Allright Reserved www.itp-bkkbn.org
I did, however, come across a PowerPoint presentation (what else?) they put together on Unmet Need for Family Planning Indonesia whch shows that the average for Indonesia is 9.1%, with Maluku the province with the highest need at 22.4% down to Babel (eh?) at 3.2%. But there's no mention of Aceh.
Another explanation might be that there have been too many rapes by police, military and sharia police personnel. That this should be so says little for the management skills and recruitment policies of the authorities; all they seem to be doing is blaming the victims.
Finally, if you thought that my opening paragraph referred to Indonesia, you'd be wrong. Click on this link to see that misogyny is rampant throughout the world.
For example, in the USA, in the week that it was agreed that women would be permitted to serve as combat troops, we learn that as many as one in three servicewomen report having been sexually assaulted, according to the defense department. In 2010, the latest year for which data is available, the Pentagon estimated that some 19,000 assaults occurred.