Indonesia's new draft bill defines 6 types of sexual violence

The National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) has listed six forms of sexual violence that will become the basis of a draft bill on sexual violence.

From 15 types of sexual violence highlighted during a study between 1998 and 2003, the commission has selected six: rape, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, sexual control, sexual torture and sexually charged punishment.

The draft bill drops other forms, such as forced prostitution, forced pregnancy and abortion, as well as traditional practices like female circumcision. Komnas Perempuan member Ira Harsono said it was too difficult to insert all 15 types into the bill.

"Although the bill only stipulates six types of sexual violence, we are making [broader] definitions and elements that in the end can accommodate all 15 types," she said.

The bill stipulates a maximum prison sentence of 15 years for sex-crime convicts.

Drafted at a time when violence against women and children is on the rise, the bill has been designed to impose stricter punishments on perpetrators of sexual violence.

The law also seeks to provide better protection for rape victims.

If the House of Representatives endorses the bill, the country will add to four other laws designed to protect women and children from sexual violence, including Article 285 of the Criminal Code (KUHP), the 2002 Child Protection Law, the 2004 Domestic Violence Law and the 2007 Human Trafficking Law.

According to commission data, from 1998-2010, there were 93,960 recorded cases of sexual violence. From the total number, about 22 per cent of cases were left unprocessed due to the lack of relevant regulations.

Meanwhile, data from the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) reveals a steady increase in cases of sexual violence against children, with 459 incidents recorded during the period between January and June of this year, compared to 590 reports made throughout the whole of 2013.

From 2011 to 2014, there were 2,124 recorded cases of sexual violence against children.

Ratna Batara Munti, chairwoman of the Indonesian Women's Association for Justice (LBH APIK) said like any country, Indonesia needed a specific law on rape and sexual harassment.

"The new bill on sexual violence can accommodate. But I must say that crimes like rape and sexual harassment need their own specific law," she said on Saturday, adding that such a law should also cover prevention and rehabilitation.

According to Ratna, though the sexual violence bill is not listed in the 2015-1019 National Legislation Program (Prolegnas), many activists were still hopeful they would push the bill onto the House agenda.

The groups are also closely monitoring the House's plan to amend the KUHP.

"We will supervise the revision, especially for the definition of rape, and we will urge lawmakers to put sexual harassment in the Criminal Code, which currently only punishes [for] molestation," Ratna said.