‘Difficulties’ surrounding Indonesia sexual violence eradication bill

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07/03/2020

On Thursday, the House of Representatives’ Legislation Body (Baleg) officially dropped the long-sought after sexual violence eradication bill from this year’s National Legislation Program (Prolegnas) priority list, along with 15 other bills on the list. Marwan Dasopang, deputy chairman of House Commission VIII, said this was because of the “difficulties” in arranging the bill’s deliberation. A 2019 report by National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) showed the ever-increasing rate of sexual violence in Indonesia. At least 35 women and girls were sexually abused every day between 2001 and 2011. The report also recorded a 14 percent increase in cases of violence against women to a total of 406,178 cases. These are red flags. Indonesia’s prevailing laws do not recognize the definition and complexity of sexual violence. For example, the Criminal Code (KUHP) only recognizes forcible penile penetration of a woman’s vagina as rape. The law does not recognize other forms of sexual violence including sexual harassment. This is one of the reasons why the sexual violence eradication bill is critical to improving the protection of women across the country.

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