IWD Celebrations Push for Passing of Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill13 March 2019
Every year on the 8th March, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated around the world. The day serves to push for the advancement of women’s rights and an end to discrimination against women.
To celebrate IWD in 2019, the Legal Resource Center for Gender Justice and Human Rights (LRC-KJHAM) — a MAMPU Partner based in Central Java — teamed up with the Office for Women’s Empowerment, Child Protection, and Family Planning (DP3AKB), the Central Java branch of NU’s women’s wing, Fatayat; Integrated Service Centers (PPT) from Seruni and Semarang, and Support Group Sekartaji, to hold a series of events, beginning with a public dialogue about the Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill (RUU PKS).
This public dialogue brought together key stakeholders and decision makers — religious leaders, parliamentarians, government representatives, and academics — to discuss the RUU PKS as a legal framework that protects victims of sexual violence.
The dialogue was held on the 12 March 2019 at the DP3AKB Central Java Office. Choirul Muna from the RUU PKS Parliamentary Working Committee (Commission VIII), Hindun Anisah from the Islamic boarding school Pondok Pesantren Hasyim Asy’ari Bangsri, Jepara; and Dian Puspitasari from MAMPU Partner LRC KJHAM Semarang presented to one hundred and fifty participants from various community organisations, government offices, media outlets and universities who attended the discussion.
Data gathered by LRC-KJHAM in Central Java between 2013-2017 recorded 4,427 women victims of violence, of whom over 50% (2,454) were victims of sexual violence.
Women who experience sexual violence face numerous obstacles and challenges during the legal process. Law enforcement officials often refuse to receive reports from victims or encourage the women to settle their cases outside the legal process, cases grinding to a halt because of insufficient evidence, light sentences for perpetrators, the criminalization of victims, and women forced to marry the perpetrator of sexual violence.Women victims are subjected to multiple forms of discrimination and revictimisation due to insufficient legal protections, social norms regarding women’s morality, and gender inequality in Indonesia.
Current laws do not cover crimes of sexual violence in sufficient detail. The Penal Code, Elimination of Domestic Violence Law, Child Protection Law, and the Elimination of Human Trafficking Law combined do not yet include all forms of sexual violence that are reported by victims across Indonesia. It is because of this legal void organisers of the event are calling for the urgent passing of the Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill.