In the framework of commemorating International Women’s Day (IWD) which falls on March 8 each year, the Lampung Women’s March held a creative action parade today in the North Sumatra city of Lampung.
The parade, which took place between 8 am and 10.45 am local time, began with protesters gathering in front of the Fajar Agung Tanjungkarang bookshop and ended at the Adipura Monument.
The march was joined by hundreds of people from various different groups with women wearing traditional long-sleeved blouses (kebaya) and sarongs for the men.
The protesters brought a variety of posters with demands such as “Ratify the RUU PKS [Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence]”, “Reject the Criminalisation of Human Rights Activists”, “End Sexual Violence and Harassment” and “Provide Menstrual Leave for Women Works in Accordance with Law Number 13/2003 Article 81(3)”.
This was followed by public speeches by several organisational representatives, one of which was from the Bandar Lampung Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) who touched on the issue of widespread sexual harassment which been happening in Lampung of late.
A speaker from the Lampung Sebay Trade Union (SP Sebay) called for Labour Ministerial Regulation Number 260/2015 to be revoked because it discriminates against migrant workers.
The speeches were followed by poetry readings about victims of sexual harassment at the Gajah Mada University (UGM) in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta and the Lampung Radin Intan State Islamic University (UIN RIL) in Lampung, as well as other victims of sexual harassment.
Lampung Women’s March Indonesia spokesperson Rizky Gita Ramadhani said that this is a movement which along with women is demanding living space that is democratic, prosperous, equal and free from violence.
“We are calling for help to reduce the level of harassment and violence against women and the creation of space which his safe and comfortable for women in Lampung. We are articulating the voice of women who are not being heard, particularly for those who make out reports who still consider cases of sexual harassment to be trivial”, she said.
“We are asking for liberation and the right to control [our own] bodies and clothing. Because a women’s clothing is not is not the reason for rape, as in the case of a UIN RIL student who was sexually harassed by a campus lecturer”, a woman known by her friends as Tata told Radar Lampung.
This year, IWD through its official website is taking up the theme #BalanceforBetter. According to Lampung Women’s March chairperson Khevin, this could be a point of clarity that justice should never be discriminative.
“Equitable means the emancipation of individual choices in accordance with the individual that they are. A small example, at the Lampung Women’s March itself, the chairperson this year is a man. This surprised other people who said ‘why a man?’. Because God created not just women, but men and other genders. Genuine feminism is equality, not being more than, men, and not being lower than men”, said Khevin.
Looking at the lack of awareness among Lampung residents to take to the streets to articulate their views, the Lampung Women’s March’s message is to continue to sharpen people’s empathy and sympathy.
“So that they begin to have the courage to speak, to articulate [starting with] just one voice, meaning giving one ray of hope to anyone who becomes a victim of harassment and violence”.
“We also hope that the DPR [the parliament] will immediately enact the RUU on the Elimination of Sexual Violence. Because there are many victims who are waiting for help that is fair, wise and gender friendly”, said Khevin in conclusion. (snd/sur)
[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Massa Tuntut Berikan Cuti Haid Pada Pekerja Perempuan”.]