National Commission on Women pushes Sexual Violence Draft Law

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Magdalena Sitorus urges that the Draft Law for the Eradication of Sexual Violence (Rancangan Undang-undang Penghapusan Kekerasan Seksual – “RUU PKS”) be enacted soon. (photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Jakarta – National Commission on Women’s Commissioner Magdalena Sitorus has urged that the Draft Law for the Eradication of Sexual Violence (Rancangan Undang-undang Penghapusan Kekerasan Seksual – “RUU PKS”) be enacted soon. She hopes that the House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”) can include the RUU into the Priority National Legislation Program (Program Legislasi Nasional – “Prolegnas”). “We are pushing this RUU to enter the priority Prolegnas. If possible, we want it validated by next year,” she said at the National Commission on Women’s Office, Menteng, Central Jakarta, on Wednesday (27/11/2019). 

Magdalena stated that even though sexual violence is already regulated in the Criminal Code (Kitab Undang-undang Hukum Pidana – “KUHP”), it is still important that the RUU PKS gets validated soon, as it is a comprehensive regulation for mitigating such abuse. RUU PKS is not just about punishment against perpetrators of sexual violence, but also on how to provide restitution to the victims and prevent the crime as a whole. “So, we already have a comprehensive law – it discusses restitution, administrative laws, the forms of violence, and possible prevention,” she said. Magdalena admitted that RUU PKS cannot guarantee that sexual violence will be eliminated, but at least it can serve as a reference regulation when it happens. “It is a coercive action, even in quotation marks, that we will implement until it becomes mandatory,” she said. “We will be watching over the new legislative members in terms of this regulation, both in terms of the law’s substance and accurate data collection, and other things. The National Commission continues to work with the civil community network in things like data collection. We are working together.” 

The National Commission on Women recorded a total of 17,088 sexual violence cases, or about 42% of a total of 40,849 cases of violence against women throughout 2016-2018, with 8,797 of the sexual violence cases being rape. Cyber-violence against women increased, with 65 reported cases of 95 types of cyber-violence in 2017 to 97 reported cases of 125 types of cyber-violence in 2018. As in most other violence cases, those who perform cyber-violence towards women are often those closest to her: current or former boyfriends, or current or former husbands. The remaining few is performed by others, whether friends, acquaintances, or strangers. 

National Commission on Women Commissioner Mariana Amiruddin stated that one of the causes for the high number of cases is lack of understanding of sexual violence. Therefore, we need to socialize types of sexual violence to the people and strengthen victim service agencies in order to ensure that the cases are processed properly. We need to do this in cooperation with the Government and the Legislative Branch. One of these socialization events is the 16 Days of Anti-Violence against Women Campaign from 25 November-10 December 2019. “Most importantly, a lot of people do not really understand what sexual violence is. We need to provide everyone with more detailed information and understanding to more people, especially at grassroots level,” she said at the Office of the National Commission of Human Rights in Jakarta on Monday (25/11/2019). 

Service Provider Forum (Forum Pengada Layanan – “FPL”) Coordinator Veni Siregar stated that most perpetrators of sexual violence against women are people that they know (86% of the total of 1,290 cases the FPL records in 15 provinces). The rest are unidentified or otherwise unknown. These sexual violence victims must still face many hardships when reporting the crimes against them to the authorities, and it is nearly impossible for them to get restitution after such a trauma. “It is very hard for sexual violence victims to get medical checks. There is barely any restitution and very few service agencies are available. Furthermore, the Government’s legal assistance organization is also sparsely and unevenly distributed,” she said. “We hope that both the Government and the people can provide support and restitution to victims of sexual violence in various regions.” 

Member of SAFEnet’s Digital At- Risk Division Nenden Sekar Arum stated that SAFEnet will take part in the 16 Days of Anti-Violence against Women Campaign by highlighting online gender-based crime cases. The campaign is meant to provide education and understanding to the public so that they can identify, prevent, and condemn gender-based online violence through social media content. “They do not understand that dirty bullying or comments is actually sexual harassment, and that theft of personal data is a crime. We want to ensure that people know that these things can happen to anyone,” she said. (des)