Agus Setyadi, Banda Aceh – As many as 355 cases of violence against women occurred in 2013, one hundred and forty-three of which were cases of sexual violence.
This information was revealed by the Aceh Women’s Movement (GPA) during a protest at the Simpang Lima traffic circle in the Acehnese provincial capital of Banda Aceh. The action, which was joined by scores of Acehnese women, was held to commemorate International Women’s Day on March 8.
Action coordinator Destika Gilang Lestari said that the number of cases of sexual violence against women in Aceh has risen drastically compared with two years ago, when there were only 27 cases. In 2013 there were 143 cases of sexual violence, seventy of which were cases of sexual valence against young girls.
Nationally meanwhile, said Lestari, data complied by the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) for 2012 found 4,336 cases of sexual violence against women. “This number is represents just the tip of the iceberg that is only seen from the surface, where [the number of] cases not reported is certainly higher”, said Lestari on Saturday March 8.
According to Lestari, this is occurring because victims are reluctant to report cases and choose to remain silent because they are afraid of the impact upon themselves if the case is exposed publically. “This tendency has been increasing year by year, while various kinds of services and protections that should be provided to victims are not being fulfilled by the government”, said Lestari.
During the action that began at around 4.30pm local time, the GPA urged the government to enact policies that can provide protection to and accommodate the needs of women victims of violence, specifically sexual violence. They also called on law enforcers to hand down maximum sentences to perpetrators of sexual violence.
“We are also asking the Aceh government to provide integrated service facilities in order to provide legal protection to women and children victims of sexual [violence] to fulfill their rights as victims”, she said. (bpn/bpn)
[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service.]