Marking IWD, women in Padang criticise veils, call for end to sexual violence

Liputan 6 – March 8, 2021
Women activists in Padang commemorate IWD in front of regional parliament – March 8, 2021 (Liputan 6)

Novia Harlina, Padang – Women community members from the Women's Concern Network (JPP) held a peaceful action at the traffic circle in front of the West Sumatra Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) in Padang on Monday March 8. The action was held to commemorate International Women's Day (IWD) 2021.

During the action several women brought banners with various kinds of messages such as "Stop sexual violence", "My jilbab [veil] is already long, so why am I still being harassed" and "I am a woman who is mistreated and raped".

The IWD action, which began at 10 am and ended at 11 am, proceeded smoothly and did not disrupt traffic at the location.

The rally, which was organised by the Nurani Perempuan (Illuminated Women) Women's Crisis Center (WCC) was intended to send a message to stakeholders and the public that sexual violence still a bugbear which exists in society.

"Through these posters and banners, hopefully anyone who sees them can understand that the impact of sexual violence against women is dangerous", said Nurani Perempuan WCC Director Rahmi Merry Yenti following the action on Monday.

The Nurani Perempuan WCC has dealt with as many as 94 cases of alleged violence against women, 54 of which were sexual violence, followed by domestic violence. Between January and February there were more than 20 reports of violence against women in the province.

"In order to address this we hope that the regional and the central government will take immediate steps in relation to this situation", she said.

Yenti said that violence against women has a huge impact on the victims, especially on their mental and psychological health. She also highlighted the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS) which has still not been deliberated by the House of Representatives (DPR).

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Hari Perempuan Sedunia, Perempuan Padang Kritisi Jilbab dan Pelecehan Seksual".]