A 34-year-old woman in Banda Aceh, Indonesia was publicly flogged this past Monday for standing too close to a man who was not her husband in violation of Islamic Shariah law.
The unidentified woman screamed in agony as a man lashed her seven times with a rattan cane, according to an AFP report. “It hurts so bad,” the woman reportedly said as she rose her arms to protect herself from the beating.
The woman in question is the latest in a growing group of women publicly flogged for violating the increasingly strict Islamic laws of Indonesia’s Aceh province. While Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, Aceh is the only province that imposes Shariah law.
In this province, officials have recently flogged people for a variety of offenses ranging from gambling to gay sex.
In fact, on Monday, several other people endured lashings for related crimes. Indeed, the masked man whipped four other people — including the 32-year-old man who the unnamed woman stood too close to — alongside the woman in front of a cheering crowd at a local mosque.
Two of the other victims were 19-year-old university students who confessed to having sex outside marriage. They reportedly stared at the ground, showing little emotion as the masked man gave them each 100 lashes.
The last victim was a man found guilty of having sex outside marriage as well, but Aceh officials spared his two-month-pregnant partner. Aceh officials typically allow expecting mothers a reprieve from the lash.
Countless others haven’t been so lucky in Aceh, the northernmost province of Indonesia, which has been practicing Shariah law since 2001. What’s more, there has been a pointed increase in the number of women that Aceh officials have publicly flogged since 2005, when the province strengthened its already strict Islamic laws.