50 Shades of Nay: Indonesia looking to ban S&M with ‘family resilience’ bill

Illustration. Photo: Pixabay
Illustration. Photo: Pixabay

Ropes and whips may be banned from sexual activity in Indonesia if the House of Representatives (DPR) passes a bill designed to ensure domestic bliss in all households in the country.

Recently, the draft for the RUU Ketahanan Keluarga (Family Resilience Bill) leaked to the public. Ostensibly, it aims to protect Indonesian families from negative external forces (such as from globalization and technology) through the promotion of religious and traditional values.

As reported by Asumsi, the bill was listed among those to be prioritized in DPR’s National Legislation Program (Prolegnas) for the 2020-2024 period, put forward in December 2019 by the Islamic-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), National Mandate Party (PAN), as well as Gerindra. 

Unsurprisingly for a bill with such a conservative bend, one of the ways it deems domestic bliss can be achieved is through the eradication of “sexual deviance,” which, of course, includes homosexuality.

Further Reading: #UninstallGojek and the high cost of supporting LGBT rights in Indonesia

What came as quite a surprise was that the bill contained articles banning a form of “sexual deviance” previously untouched by Indonesian law: sadism and masochism. Should the bill pass, those who partake in the unspeakable activity that is S&M will be required to undergo social rehabilitation, psychological rehabilitation, spiritual counseling, or medical rehabilitation.

Furthermore, the bill states that couples who are into sadomasochism may lose custody of their children temporarily or permanently.

The bill does not state how authorities would enforce such an intrusive law. Nevertheless, its passage through parliament has been smooth so far, meaning it could pass into law in the near future.

Online reaction to RUU Ketahanan Keluarga has been mostly unkind, and deservedly so.

Economic policies are being liberalized. Meanwhile, the private matters of citizens are being made as conservative as possible.

If a draft bill like this passes and the president signs it, he’s probably going to say “parliament suggested it.”

Other aspects of RUU Ketahanan Keluarga were also panned, including the patriarchal article making it “mandatory” for wives to manage households and “treat their husbands and children well.”

Is it only the job of women to manage households? Is it only the job of men to protect their families?

RUU Ketahanan Keluarga is just one of many controversial bills put forward by parliament in recent years, some of the most controversial of which, such as RUU KPK, have passed into law. Meanwhile, bills that are arguably far more pressing for Indonesia, such as the Sexual Violence Bill, which would enforce harsher punishments for perpetrators of gender-based violence and provide greater protections for victims, have stalled in parliament.

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