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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Violence to Women

Last Sunday 14 January 2007, the local newspaper gave information about the increase of sexual abuse done to children in Semarang, my hometown. One Non Governmental Organization concerning with gender and human rights—LRC KJHAM—reported that among 247 rape cases during last year, 187 cases happened to children. The worst thing is that more victims were under five years old: 20 cases happened to children under five years old, while 167 cases happened to girls between 6 until 18 years old. The rapists mostly even were those who had close relationship with the victims, such as neighbors. The reason is because it is very easy to cheat children by giving them some money, candies or toys. When those children refuse, the rapists will threaten them. Usually, children will be afraid of the threat.

The launching of law to eliminate the domestic violence in 2004 seems not to have impact to reduce the violence done to women. It is shown by the increase of the violence done to women as noted by one Non Governmental Organization in Jakarta—Koalisi Perempuan Indonesia (Indonesian Women Coalition—in its press release on January 8, 2007. The highest increase was in 2004—80% compared to the previous year. In 2005 it increased 45% compared to the cases in 2004.

Does it mean that the law to eliminate the domestic violence doesn’t really work well to reduce the violence done to women? No. The law has opened people’s eyes that domestic violence is no longer a domestic case only so that the family—especially women that become more victims rather than men—has more courage to report to the police. Before 2004, people tended to hide the violence that happened in the family because people used to view it as personal/familial problem.

Going back to the news I mentioned in the beginning of this article, the news stated one rape case that happened to a nine-year-old girl (raped by one neighbor.). The mother of the girl herself decided to report to the police although her husband said no need to do that. I am of opinion that the mother is familiar with the elimination of domestic violence law while the husband still thinks that it is a familial problem. In Indonesia—perhaps also in some other countries that have law to consider women’s bodies as the source of sin—women are always cornered when rape happens. Instead of punishing the rapist, society would try finding fault in the victim, such as what kind of clothes the victim was wearing at that time, whether the victim flirted the rapist, etc. the launch of the elimination of domestic violence law in 2004 was expected to see the case using the right point of view—to see the rapist as the criminal that has to be punished and to protect the victim as the victim, and not as the seducer.

PT56 13.00 150107

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