Jakarta – The Women’s Movement Alliance held a silent protest against sexual violence on campus at the Ministry of Education and Culture in South Jakarta on Monday February 10.
During the action which began at 8 am, they all wore white clothing with part of their faces smeared with red lipstick in the form of a hand-print. They stood in a line directly in front Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim’s office in the ministerial complex.
Action coordinator Beng said that the protest was a form of solidarity with cases of sexual violence which have occurred on campus, one of which is the case of Padang University student Bunga (not her real name).
The markings in the form of a hand print on their faces were intentionally drawn to represent the gagging of sexual violence cases by campus authorities.
As has been reported, on January 15 Bunga reported a case of sexual violence to the West Sumatra regional police. The report alleged that the perpetrator of the assault was a university lecturer.
“But the campus [authorities] instead asked Bunga to withdraw the complaint and threatened her with being dropped out if she did not do so. The campus saw Bunga’s case as being too unimportant by stating that worse cases than the one suffered by Bunga had not been reported to the police or media”, said Beng in a press release received by CNN Indonesia.
In response to this, Beng along with the 30 other protesters went to the Education and Culture Ministry to meet with Makarim.
They are demanding that Makarim dismiss the lecturer and alleged perpetrator of sexual violence against Bunga. They are also demanding the formulation of a regulation which obliges campus authorities to have a system to prevent and deal with sexual violence and to establish a special independent institution to act on cases of sexual violence on campus.
“Enact the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence”, added Beng.
Based on CNN Indonesia’s observation, the protesters had been gathering at the Ministry of Education and Culture since 8 am. Initially they held the action inside the ministerial complex.
After around 30 minutes however the police arrived and asked them to leave the complex or wait in the library. The Ministry of Education and Culture had stated that it will ask a representative from the Directorate General for Higher Education to meet with them.
Beng however said they did not want to wait in the library and claimed that he was sure that Makarim was in his office because he was scheduled to hold a meeting with Google.
“We asked [to meet] with the top person today, namely Pak [Mr] Nadiem. There is also an agenda with Google today, so it’s absolutely impossible that he didn’t come [into the office]”, said Beng.
The meeting with Google was still taking place at Building A in the ministerial complex. Although Makarim reportedly did not attend the meeting and was represented by the Director General for Education for Children in their Early Years, Primary and Secondary Education, Harris Iskandar. Also seen at the meeting was the Minister for Women’s Empowerment and Children I Gusti Ayu Bintang Darmawati. (fey/kid)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Kemendikbud Didemo soal Kekerasan Seksual di Kampus”.]