Only women are allowed in the sacred forest in Papua, Indonesia, but they have to be Naked

Only women are allowed in the sacred forest in Papua, Indonesia, but they have to be Naked

Only women are allowed in the sacred forest in Papua, Indonesia, but they have to be Naked

(Image Credit: Screenshot from video of BBC cover story) 


Only women are allowed to enter the forest. You heard it right: there is a mangrove forest in Papua, Indonesia where only women are allowed to enter. Women go into the forest to collect clams (which are edible and live as flora and fauna). If any intruders (men) enter the forest, they will be fined up to one million rupiahs ($69) in the tribal court.


On June 27, 2021, the BBC published the story "Forest for Women Only" with the title of a video of Papua's sacred forest for women only. BBC Indonesia entered the forest to shoot with the permission of an all-female crew.


In the video, Papua Villagers were interviewed and they shared their experience of the sacred forest of women. One of the villagers, Adriana Meraudje, said, "To enter the women's forest, you have to be naked. "You are not allowed to wear clothing." 


Yes, women who enter the forest are naked, as she explains. 'The custom has been there for a long time, I know,' she adds. Adriana says if a man even peeks in, he will be punished, sanctioned, and fined in tribal court up to 1 million rupiahs, an amount that's usually paid in polished stones.


Another villager, Ati Rumboyrusi, told the BBC that they will enter the forest when it's low tide with their friends and family by boat.

 

Read More: Temples in India where only married men are allowed to enter


We're free in the forest because there are no men around, only ladies, so we freely exchange stories with the elderly. We dive into the water and find our way through the mud to find the clams.


The women's forest is a very important place for us in our bay. We can't live without this forest. We will continue to come every day and look for clams. Here women trust each other and share secret/ private matters. We can never let it go, she added.


The collected clams from the forest are sold in nearby markets. This forest is so sacred to these women here. They are worried the water is now polluted because waste from the market in the city gets washed up here when it rains.


Source: BBC


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