Sexual violence emergency in West Java highlighted at IWD rally in Bandung

Detik Jabar – March 8, 2022
International Women's Day rally in front of Gedung Sate building in Bandung – March 8, 2022 (Detik)

Sudirman Wamad, Bandung – An alliance of women's organisations held a protest action in front of the Gedung Sate building (governor's office) in the West Java provincial capital of Bandung today to commemorate International Women's Day (IWD).

The protesters articulated dozens of demands, one of which was calling for an end to violence against women.

Action coordinator Sheila from the group United People for Women's Liberation (Parapuan) said that West Java (Jabar) has yet to provide safe and ideal spaces for women and that not a few women choose to remain silent when they become victims of violence – both physical as well as sexual.

"The emergency in Jabar is the issue of violence against women. It's also related to the situation facing working comrades", Shelia told Detik Jabar during a break in the IWD action on Tuesday March 8.

Sheila said that the demonstration is articulating women's issues in various sectors such as education, the law, the workplace, healthcare and the like. None of these sectors provide safe space for women as demonstrated by the ongoing cases of violence against women, from sexual violence to physical violence.

"Many (women) workers become victims of violence in the workplace. Companies must establish complaints posts or a task force. We are also articulating the problem of wages", said Sheila.

Sheila also highlighted the issue of many educational institutions which do not provide space for women, whether it be reporting systems, dealing with cases of violence or the formation of a task force.

According to Shelia, tertiary education institutions have yet to fully apply Education, Culture, Research and Technology Minister Regulation (Permendikbud) Number 30/2021 on the Prevention and Handling of Sexual Violence in Higher Education Institutions.

"Our friends on campus are hoping for this", said Shelia who is also the chairperson of the Indonesian Education University Gender Research Student Center (GREAT UPI).

Sheila does not deny that on a number of campuses students in particular have an awareness and concern about women's issues. However she also does not deny that that in not a few cases the handling of sexual violence against women which have occurred at higher education institutions has been slow.

"All parties must be active. From educators to their students", said Sheila, adding that Parapuan is pushed for the immediate ratification of the Draft Law on Sexual Violence Crimes (RUU TPKS). (sud/ors)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Parapuan: Jabar Darurat Kekerasan Perempuan!".]