Female circumcision must be banned – Detik.com poll

Detik.com – October 5, 2006
Headline reads 'Female Circumcision is not Obligatory' (Tribune)
Headline reads 'Female Circumcision is not Obligatory' (Tribune)

Shinta Shinaga, Jakarta – Female circumcision is indeed already a tradition in Indonesia. However the medical world is now becoming concerned about the practice of removing the clitoris. The results of a Detik.com poll indicated that female circumcision must be banned.

The polling was opened on September 28 at 1.40pm West Indonesia Time. The question was: Female circumcision causes infection, hemorrhaging, sexual trauma and a series of other complications. Should it be banned even though it has become a tradition? There were two answers that could be chosen: “It should” and “It should not”.

By Thursday October 5 at 12.30pm, 874 votes had been entered with 570 (65.22%) stating that female circumcision must be banned and 304 (34,78%) stating that it should not.

Female circumcision is generally done just after a baby is born up until the age of nine months although in the Gorontalo province of North Sulawesi it is done between the ages of one to four years while in Makassar, South Sulawesi, it is done between the ages of five to nine years.

The department of health has stated that circumcision in inappropriate for women in terms of health and even more so in terms of human rights because the practice has shifted from the symbolic, to the impairment of the sexual organs. The department of health has also been asked to issue a directive banning female circumcision.

The following problems can be suffered immediately following female circumcision: hemorrhaging, infection that can result in septicemia, tetanus and infection of the wound. Later on there are problems with menstruation, infection of the urinary tract, chronic inflammation of the hips, infertility, sexual disaffection, problems with pregnancy and giving birth as well as the risk of HIV infection.

Then there is also sexual trauma or psycho-sexual problems such as pain during intimate contact, a reduction in sexual desire, fear, depression and marital conflict.

The state minister for women’s empowerment has declared her support for the banning of female circumcision. Moreover it is also considered to be a form of mutilation so that the body is no longer whole. According to the minister, female circumcision does not originate from Islamic teachings like male circumcision but comes from Egyptian culture that has been adopted by Indonesian society, even though not all Egyptians practice it.

So, should female circumcision be banned in Indonesia? The results of the Detik.com poll say it must. However the poll is not scientific and only reflects the opinions of Detik.com readers that participated in the poll. (sss/asy)

[Translated by James Balowski.]