Marking IWD in Yogyakarta, alliance demands enactment of sexual violence bill

Suara Jogja – March 8, 2022
IDW Alliance rally at Tugu Monument in Yogyakarta – March 8, 2022 (Suara Jogja)

The issue of sexual violence is still encountered in every layer of society, including the office environment and educational institutions. This has motivated women's movement groups that are part of the Jogja international Women's Day Alliance (IDW) to urge the government to enact the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS).

This demand was conveyed in the form of speeches at the Tugu Monument traffic circle in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta on the afternoon of Tuesday March 8, when hundreds of women from various different groups articulated the demand through banners and posters on International Women's Day (IWD).

The posters and banners included demands such as, "Stop sexual violence", "Rape is not a joke" and "Enact the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence without dropping any articles".

IDW Alliance coordinator Laili explained that the action represented a form of anxiety by women's groups because up until the start of 2022 the government has not provided any clarity on providing security for women.

"Every year there are many cases of sexual violence, even on campus grounds, the point we are pushing right now is immediately enact the RUU PKS and apply the Education Ministry [regulation on sexual violence] at all tertiary education institutions in Indonesia", said Laili during a break in the action on Tuesday.

Laili continued saying that the RUU PKS has been pushed since 2016 but the government and the House of Representatives (DPR) have chosen to rename it the Draft Law on Sexual Violence Crimes (TPKS) and have removed a number of key sections from the original draft.

"We want to highlight that there are several drafts of the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (PKS) which were trimmed down in the RUU TPKS. There were nine types of sexual violence in the RUU PKS which were very comprehensive including rape, forced marriage and forced [missing text] and many others", she explained.

But, continued Laili, in the RUU TPKS there are only four types of sexual violence cited and forced marriage, forced prostitution and forced abortion were removed from the bill.

"We know that every year the number of forced child marriages is increasing. We are pushing for the RUU PKS to be enacted without dropping any articles", she said.

The IDW Alliance made 42 demands directed at the government on International Women's Day. Laili also called for security for women who are fighting together against land theft as is happening at the Wadas Village in the Central Java regency of Purworejo.

Furthermore, the Alliance itself is of the view that women in society are still considered to be of a lower status and that gender equality in Yogyakarta does not yet fully side with women.

"Such as with the wages received by women workers, only 80 percent of the normal wage. Aside from this work safety and security guarantees when working in an office environment are still not maximal", she said.

Not only that, in the educational environment sexual violence often occurs in the last year of study and the victims, namely students, do not receive sufficient assistance after suffering sexual violence.

Speaking separately, the head of the Women's Empowerment and Protection Division at the Yogyakarta Office for the Empowerment of Women, Protection of Children, Population Control and Family Planning (DP3AP2KB), Ria Rinawati, said that many women now have the courage to articulate their concerns even though they are victims of violence.

"Now there are more and more women who are prepared to speak up. On the other hand the government has opened more complaint services, even the private sector has provided many avenues for them", she said.

Rinawati does not deny that that violence against women, particularly in the home, has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We have PPA [Women and Children Protection] services, in addition to this there is the Anti-Violence Rapid Deployment Unit (Sigrak) at the kemantren [city sub-division] level. So we are ready to accommodate violence suffered by housewives and also women in Jogja", she said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Peringati Hari Perempuan Sedunia, Aliansi IDW Jogja Tuntut Pemerintah Sahkan RUU PKS".]