Certainly, one remembers the disturbing NY Times article, that in 2008 has been reporting for the first time about the mass mutilation of little girls in Indonesia. Four years later – in November 2012 – an article at the UK Guardian is taking on the issue and brings to light that the problem has been worsened in Indonesia and that “Anti-FGM campaigners have proved ineffective…”
Until 2008, the existence and prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation in Indonesia has always been claimed to be uncertain, with non proven evidence. And still today, Western politicians, development agencies and most Anti-FGM-campaigners completely ignore this problem in Indonesia and Asia by saying that anyway, FGM there would only include “ritual prickings” of the clitoral hood and thus be less harmful.
Therefore, it is most irritating that already in 2003, an extensive scientific study about the prevalence of FGM in Indonesia had been funded and conducted by USAID – the world’s most powerful and influential development company – withscandalising outcome – but being hidden from broad public (*1):
72% of girls in Indonesia suffer severe mutilations of their genitalia: In a modern, urban and highly educated environment, the highest rate of the most brutish mutilation (Excision of the clitoris) is prevalent
The study has been conducted in 8 districts of Indonesia, covering several major ethnic groups from the western to the eastern parts of the country.
– In the majority of districts, the prevalence of FGM is as high as 100% and it does not go below 86% in any area. (page 25)
– 72% of girls are subjected to very harm- and painful forms of Genital Mutilation, involving incision and excision of the clitoris (page 40)
– The highest prevalence (50%) of the most severe mutilation (Excision of the clitoris) is to be found in a modern, urban and highly educated environment (Padang city) and it’s region (Padang Priaman) (page 25)
– Almost all extremely damaging forms of FGM (i.e. Excision) are perpetrated by trained medical staff such as midwifes, medical doctors and nurses (page 30).
There is a direct link between the modernisation and
medicalisation of FGM and the increase of severe forms (Excision).
In fact, this study describes the extremely high prevalence of FGM as well as the prevalence of severe forms so detailed that no one could ever claim that FGM in Indonesia would not be evident or reported.
While Western politicians and organisations continue to describe Female Genital Mutilation as a “deeply rooted, cultural” issue that has nothing to do with religion and “is not condoned by any major religion” (*2), the facts and data about FGM in Indonesia are unveiling such phrases as nothing but expressions of profound ignorance:
To Indonesia – as well as to other Asian countries like Maldives and Malaysia – and to the most West African countries, Female Genital Mutilation has been imported and enforced with Islam – as religious duty: Before islamisation (15th to 18th century), Female Genital Mutilation was unknown and not perpetrated in Asia/Indonesia and is still not in those regions that remain untroubled by Islam. In fact, there are not even words in the Indonesian native languages for FGM, so it being named with the Arab words “Khitan”, “Sunnah” and “Khifad”.
Already in 1998, Andrée Feillard and Lies Marcoes unveiled the fact that Female Genital Mutilation has been introduced and enforced in Indonesia by Muslim scholars within the process of islamisation – that still continues:
Today, the Islamic Yayasan Assalaam Foundation is openly and publicly organising and financing mass-mutilations of girls in Bandung – with a growing number of victims every year.
All this is not a coincidence nor surprise, as the majority of Indonesian Muslims is following the Shafii’q school that is propagating Female Genital Mutilation as Islamic duty:
“Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the clitoris (this is called HufaaD).”
Altogether, it becomes obvious that Female Genital Mutilation
has a very short history in Indonesia. It is – as well as in many West-African-societies – NOT “deeply rooted in the culture”, in contrary: It is a sign of overlapping and repressing the ancient culture with the Islamic dogmata.
The people in Indonesia who are perpetrating Female Genital Mutilation are NOT acting out of lacking education or information – so does not a single FGM-perpetrating community – but they perpetrate this crime in full awareness of the pain and suffering it causes, just because with the religious duties and rules of Islam that include the fulfillment of pathological male obsession about virginity, they accepted and agreed a whole slew of manifestations of opression, violence, control and deprivation of rights against girls and women…
With Islam, the inhibition threshold for even the most inhumane and degrading forms violence against women and children – including FGM – receded dramatically.
The question we ask is how long the world public still wants to turn blind eyes on these facts and the suffering of nearly all girls in the world’s largest Muslim population Indonesia?!
(*1) Our next article will deal with the fact that despite the study’s proven evidence, extremely high prevalence and severity of FGM in Indonesia, USAID has been hiding, ignoring and denying these facts and data until now (2012)
(*2) Scott Redloff, Director/Office of Population and Reproductive Health, USAID, 2008
Fotos (C) Stephanie Sinclair, Aulia Akbar, Azlan DuPree