Two Lesbians Caned by Malaysian Court, in Year's Most Erotic Headline So Far
As judges watched, two women beat 2 other women. Hollywood Competes for the Film Rights
September 4, 2018
In what may be 2018's most erotic headline so far, two women caught in flagrante delicto in an act of love, were beaten by an Islamic court in Southeast Asia's largest Moslem republic, Malaysia. Horrible as it may have been, we would have liked to have watched any part of it.
A Malaysian Muslim lesbian couple caned in public punishment, reports the Associate Press. Two Malaysian Muslim women convicted under Islamic laws of attempting to have sex were caned Monday in a rare public whipping that was slammed by lawmakers and rights activists as a form of torture.
Lawyers and activists said the women, aged 22 and 32, were seated on stools facing the judges and given six strokes from a light rattan cane on their backs by female prison officers. More than 100 people witnessed the caning in a Shariah courtroom in northeast Terengganu state, they said.
Muslim Lawyers' Association deputy president Abdul Rahim Sinwan said unlike caning under civil laws, the punishment under Islamic laws isn't painful or harsh and was meant to educate the women so they will repent. The women, dressed in white headscarves and clothing, didn't cry or scream but "showed remorse," he said.
"Repentance is the ultimate aim for their sin," he said.
Human rights groups slammed the punishment as a setback for human rights and said it could worsen discrimination against people in Malaysia's lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender community.
"Caning is a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and may amount to torture," Amnesty International Malaysia said in a statement. "People should not live in fear because they are attracted to people of the same sex. The Malaysian authorities must immediately repeal repressive laws, outlaw torturous punishments and ratify the U.N. Convention Against Torture."
Malaysia follows a dual-track justice system. Nearly two-thirds of Malaysia's 31 million people are Muslims, who are governed by Islamic courts in family, marriage and personal issues. The two unidentified women were discovered by Islamic officials in April and sentenced last month by a Shariah court to six strokes of a cane and a fine after pleading guilty.
Thilaga Sulathireh, from the group Justice for Sisters who witnessed the caning, said she was shocked by the public spectacle. She said Malaysian laws were inconsistent because civil laws prohibit corporal punishment against female prisoners.
"It's a regression of human rights in Malaysia. It's not about the severity of the caning. Corporal punishment is a form of torture regardless of your intention," she said.
Lawmakers also joined in the chorus of condemnation against the public caning."Islam teaches us to look after the dignity of every human being. And that mercy is preferable to punishment," opposition lawmaker Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted.
Lawmaker Charles Santiago said the government must repeal all laws that criminalize homosexuality. "And this is because we really need to make sure that no one is publicly caned let alone because of their sexuality," he said.
Malaysia is seen as a moderate and stable Muslim-majority country, but Islamic conservatism is on the rise.
The caning occurred amid a climate of fear and discrimination against Malaysia's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. A few weeks ago, authorities removed the portraits of two LGBT rights activists from a public exhibition. Malaysia religious minister Mujahid Yusuf later said the government doesn't support the promotion of LGBT culture. A transgender woman was also beaten up by a group of people in a southern state this month.
A lesbian is a homosexual woman. The word lesbian is also used to describe women in terms of their sexual identity or sexual behavior regardless of sexual orientation, or as an adjective to characterize or associate nouns with female homosexuality or same-sex attraction.
The concept of "lesbian", to differentiate women with a shared sexual orientation, is a 20th-century construct. Throughout history, women have not had the same freedom or independence to pursue homosexual relationships as men, but neither have they met the same harsh punishment as homosexual men in some societies. Instead, lesbian relationships have often been regarded as harmless and incomparable to heterosexual ones unless the participants attempted to assert privileges traditionally enjoyed by men. As a result, little in history was documented to give an accurate description of how female homosexuality is expressed. When early sexologists in the late 19th century began to categorize and describe homosexual behavior, hampered by a lack of knowledge about homosexuality or women's sexuality, they distinguished lesbians as women who did not adhere to female gender roles and incorrectly designated them mentally ill—a designation which has been reversed in the global scientific community.