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Jakarta Post

To straddle or not to straddle, that is the question

  • Fitri Bintang Timur

Singapore   /   Mon, January 7 2013   /  10:00 am

In his speech to welcome the New Year, Lhokseumawe Mayor Suaidi Yahya announced his plan to enact a regional ordinance (qanun) that will prohibit women from straddling motorcycles on the grounds that: “It will provoke male drivers. It is also to protect women from undesirable conditions.”

How protective is the bylaw for women when sitting sideways actually puts women in a vulnerable position due to imbalance of the motorcycle.

The mayor appears to have not heeded the lesson learned from the recent death of a 23-year-old Indian lady, a victim of gang-rape committed by six men. Suaidi does not realize that rape is not triggered by how a woman acts or dresses but rather by the society that allows it to happen: A society that points an accusatory finger toward the victim rather than the perpetrators.

Nonetheless, the outrageous non-straddle policy plan has won suppor...