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For some reason in November 2012 the popular UK paper the Guardian decided to research the reason that Thai woman cut their husbands penis’s off.
A report in the paper explained that about one per decade the medical profession take a good look at Thailand’s plethora of penile amputations. The first noteworthy case being in the 1983 issue of the Americal Journal of Surgery – Surgical Management of an Epidemic of Penile Amputations in Siam by Kasian Bhanganada and four fellow physicians at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok. This article introduces the subject of why it became fashionable in the decade after 1970 for the humiliated wives of philandering husbands to sever their penis with a knife while they were sleeping.
The report looks into the fact that as many Thai houses are built on stilts and the windows are often left open for ventilation, and furthermore that in the area below the house it is not uncommon for pigs, chickens and ducks to reside, the usual practice of simply tossing the severed penis out of the window could very quickly result in its ingestion by one of the afore mentioned creatures, often the ducks.
The report explains, for readers in other countries, the Thai saying “I had better get home or the ducks will have something to eat” is therefore a common joke and immediately understood at all levels of society.
The bulk of the paper reports how the doctors and their colleagues learned, over the course of attempting 18 reimplantations, how to improve the necessary surgical techniques. Unambiguous photographs supplement the text.
“Interestingly”, the physicians remark at the very end, “none of our patients filed a criminal complaint against their attackers.”
An article called Factors Associated with Penile Amputation in Thailand, published in 1998 in the journal NursingConnections, explores the reasons behind that. Gregory Bechtel and Cecilia Tiller, from the Medical College of Georgia (in Atlanta), gathered data from three couples who had been part of the epidemic. The couples, by then divorced, discussed their experience calmly. Bechtel and Tiller report that in each case, three things had happened during the week prior to dismemberment: (1) a financial crisis; (2) “ingestion of drugs or alcohol by the husband immediately prior to the event; and (3) public humiliation of the wife owing to the presence of a second ‘wife’ or concubine”.
In 2008, the Journal of Urology carried a retrospective by Drs Genoa Ferguson and Steven Brandes of the Washington University in St Louis, called The Epidemic of Penile Amputation in Thailand in the 1970s. Ferguson and Brandes conclude that: “Women publicly encouraging and inciting other scorned women to commit this act worsened the epidemic. The vast majority of worldwide reports of penile replantation, to this day, are a result of what became a trendy form of retribution in a country in which fidelity is a strongly appreciated value.”