Commemorating IWD, Bandung rally says West Java not women friendly

IDN Times – March 8, 2020
Protesters commemorate IWD in Bandung – March 8, 2020 (IND Times)

Bagus F, Bandung – Coinciding with International Women’s Day (IWD) 2020, protesters from the Wanoja Ngalawan Assembly (KAWAN) held a protest action at the Gedung Sate building (the governor’s office) in the West Java provincial capital of Bandung on Sunday March 8.

And it was not just students, housewives, non-government organisations and workers also took part in the action. A number of posters were visible opposing the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation.

“We here are building solidarity together. The aim being to raise awareness about women’s oppression which doesn’t take just one form but many, which are interlinked and have many aspects. What we must do is unite the forces that exist in one place, where we can recount our anxieties together”, said IWD Bandung 2020 spokesperson Ana during a break in the action.

Ana said that there are a large number of cases of sexual violence against women in West Java. Based on data from the Sapa Institute, domestic violence (KDRT) dominates cases of sexual violence in West Java.

There were as many as 294 cases of violence against women reported in West Java in 2019. These cases were made up of 115 cases of domestic violence, 79 cases of sexual violence, 67 cases of human trafficking, two case of violence against women labourers and several other categories.

“West Java is not women friendly. As can be seen from sexual harassment in public places, on campus, cases of KDRT also, this will not end if for example we and stakeholders remain silent, with the many cases of KDRT, yes well it means closing our eyes to cases of violence against women”, said Ana.

Ana explained that for IWD 2020 in Bandung this year, the protesters agreed to oppose the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation. According to Ana, if the law is ratified, violence against women will become even more structured and legitimised.

“Today also one of the things being articulated by women workers is the issue of the Omnibus Law. This should also be of concern to stakeholders, including also and aside from this, it is also like democratic space and our freedom of expression of late, once in a while are seen as going against the interests of the government”, she explained.

Aside from the Omnibus Law, the protesters also used the opportunity to demand the immediate ratification of the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU-PKS). Ana explained that the RUU PKS has the capacity to become a legal force to protect women victims of violence.

“There are key issues which are being taken up as a broad outline in 2020. Opposing the Omnibus Law, ratifying the RUU PKS, rejecting the Draft Law on Family Resilience, abolishing the catch-all articles in the UU ITE [Information and Electronic Transaction Law], ending militarism in Papua, abolishing economic and development policies which damage the environment, ending female circumcision, this is occurring at a national and local level”, she said.

Ana hopes that the government can be intelligent in making policies to create safe spaces for women as well as involving women’s views in the formulation of legislation.

“The irony is that violence against women doesn’t just happen to individuals. Rather it is structured through various kinds of regulations which are created by the state or religion which do not permit women to have a voice”, she concluded.

[Translated by James Balowski. Subheadings in the original article were removed. The original title of the article was “IWD 2020 di Bandung: Jawa Barat Belum Ramah Perempuan”.]