Jakarta – The National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) regrets the postponement of deliberations on the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS) by the House of Representatives (DPR) on the grounds that there is a Covid-19 pandemic.
Yet the completion of the law was a pledge made by both presidential candidates and a number of politicians in the 2014 legislative and presidential elections.
“Komnas Perempuan regrets that the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS) continues to be postponed”, read a Komnas Perempuan press release carried on its official website on Thursday July 2.
“Yet, the RUU PKS has been on the national legislation priority program since 2014. At the time, it was touted by all of the presidential candidates, the [political] parties backing them, even several legislative candidates at the national and regional level”, said Komnas Perempuan.
The postponement of the deliberations on the RUU PKS was agreed to during a DPR Legislative Body (Baleg) meeting with the leaders of Commissions I through to XI on June 30.
In 2019, the deliberations were opposed by several social groups – particularly those affiliated with religious opposition ormas (social or mass organisation) – as a consequence of hoaxes about legalising adultery and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT). In response to this, the DPR also postponed the deliberations.
Komnas Perempuan said that the repeated postponements are related to the lack of understanding on the part of the majority of DPR members about the critical threat of sexual violence.
“These repeated postponements give rise to a suspicion that the majority of DPR members don’t yet understand the situation or feel that there is no crisis of sexual violence taking place at the moment”, said Komnas Perempuan.
Meanwhile, said the Commission, cases of sexual violence are increasing and becoming more complex every year, including during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Komnas Perempuan’s 2020 annual report shows that there were 4,898 reports of sexual violence cases in 2019. Between January and May 2020, there were 542 cases of domestic or personal relationship related violence against women. As many as 170 of these cases (24 percent) were cases of sexual violence.
In the public sphere, there were 226 cases of violence against women with 203 of these (89 percent) cases of sexual violence.
“In both these areas the most common kind of sexual violence reported was cases of gender based cyber violence (KBGS) committed by partners, former partners, and even unidentified individuals involving various forms of violence”, said Komnas Perempuan.
“This included threats to disseminate photographs and videos of a sexual nature, sending or showing videos of a sexual nature, exhibitionism and sexual exploitation”, the group said in the statement.
On the other hand, the number of cases of sexual violence against women which were dealt with legally was minimal.
For example, there were 13,611 cases of rape reported to service agencies at the primary level between 2016 and 2019. Meanwhile the number of rape cases reported to police was only 29 percent.
“Around 70 percent of the cases reported to police were tried in court, or around 22 percent of the total number of cases accepted by service agencies”, said Komnas Perempuan.
Service agencies are usually a type of work unit linked to the Ministry for the Empowerment of Women and Protection of Children which service complaints about violence against women and children.
“This indicates that there are substantial problems stemming from criminal law, the legal structure and culture, which prevents victims of sexual violence, especially women, from getting justice and obtaining full rehabilitative support”, read the statement.
It is because of this therefore, that Komnas Perempuan is asking the DPR to not postpone the RUU PKS again and is urging the government to actively support the draft law.
“Komnas Perempuan is recommending that the DPR ensure that deliberations on the RUU PKS will take place in 2021 without being postponed again”, the Commission asserted. (Antara/arh)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Komnas Perempuan Sebut RUU PKS Janji Semua Capres di 2014”.]