Violence against Indonesian women on the rise

INDONESIA - The National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) called on the government to better protect women, arguing that gender-based violence had become all too prevalent.

Based on recent data from the commission, there were 279,760 cases of violence against women in the archipelago throughout 2013, up by 29.4 per cent compared to 216,156 cases in the previous year.

There were 275,004 cases in the personal or domestic sphere such as in romantic or intimate relationships, an employer-domestic worker setting and within the family group.

In addition, the data showed that victims ranged in age from infants to the elderly.

Victims also spanned social groups including the disabled, migrant workers, transgender and student.

Ninety four per cent of the data in 2013 was compiled from religious courts nationwide and the remaining 6 per cent from 195 public services institutions like the National Police Women and Children's Protection Units (UPPA), civil organisations, hospitals and Community Service Center for the Protection of Women and Children (P2TP2A).

"We need a comprehensive policy that covers prevention, punishment and rehabilitation.

The prevention mechanism should be implemented by state and public institutions by adhering to human rights and ensuring the recruitment, promotion and supervision systems are not gender biased," commissioner Sri Nurherwati said in Jakarta on Friday.

Sri said that by having such a system violence could be reduced in the long term as it would create a more conducive environment for women to live and flourish.

Komnas Perempuan chairperson Yuniyanti Chuzaifah said that violations of women's rights should be included in the 2015-2019's RPJMN (the National Mid Term Development Plan) otherwise physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse of women would continue.

"Protection of women is an urgent issue in our country, especially since women can suffer violence regardless of education, age and profession. We need a systemic protection mechanism because when a woman experiences abuse, it will reduce her productivity and in some cases like rape, the impact will stay forever," Yuniyanti said.

She said that there was a real land urgent need for a law on sexual violence to better resolve sexual abuse cases.

According to data from the commission, in the public or community sphere 56 per cent of 4,679 cases were sexual abuse such as rape and molestation.

Moreover, the commission said there was a rising number of discriminative bylaws.

The commission recorded 342 discriminative bylaws up to the end of 2013, up from 154 in 2009, which controlled women's bodies, their profession and their legal certainty, among others.

The bylaws were implemented in 141 regencies and cities across 30 provinces.

Such bylaws actually contradict the UN convention on the elimination of discrimination against women (CEDAW), which the government adopted in 1984.

"This figure is just the tip of the iceberg because we have not collected data from every city and regency in Indonesia. Thus, we want the government to take women's issues seriously right now," she continued.