Sunday, February 25, 2024 | 06:49 WIB

Women’s vulnerability to violence

Jakarta, IO – Cases of domestic violence (KDRT) have recently been highlighted, involving a housewife who is also a general practitioner, Qori Ulfiyah Ramayanti (37). Qori, who was six months pregnant at the time, is trending on social media after escaping her house due to domestic abuse. Qori’s husband is known to be unemployed and filming his daily activities for a YouTube channel. Another case of violence has attracted public attention: the alleged rape of a café waitress by the Regent of Southeast Maluku, M. Thaher Hanubun. The Maluku Regional Police have stated that they will not dismiss the case, despite the family’s request for case withdrawal (BBC News, September 21, 2023). 

Cases of violence against women (KTP) will likely continue, as violence against women can take the form of physical and sexual aggression and economic neglect. In the reality of a patriarchal society’s ecosystem, economic neglect can manifest in the nonfulfillment of basic needs (clothing, food, shelter) and economic exploitation. 

Economic exploitation of women can take the form of encouragement for women to meet their fundamental needs, not only for themselves as women but also for their children and even their partners. Normally, patriarchal societies assign the economic duty to males but instead pressure women, as significant players, to be actively involved in the family’s economic cycle without an equivalent contribution made by men. Men and women have equal rights and obligations to ensure their shared lives. 

Dewi Rahmawati Nur Aulia
Dewi Rahmawati Nur Aulia, Social Researcher of the Indonesian Institute

In Qori’s domestic violence case, we can see that Qori experienced a layered form of violence, at various forms and levels; apart from being the object of economic exploitation, Qori also experienced physical assault during her pregnancy. A state official also subjected café staff to sexual abuse. The victim’s violence was assessed not just in terms of sexual aspects but also as that of a human being who had to meet her basic necessities by working as a café employee. 

According to the situations presented, even though women are economically empowered when it comes to power relations, they often fail to make decisions independently and break free from the traps of oppression. The victims of domestic violence are often unable to do so due to family influence. Children and social perception of the sanctity of keeping a marriage together most likely force women to hesitate in deciding what is best for them. 

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Similarly, power disparities took place in the rape case of a café employee in Southeast Maluku who had difficulties seeking justice. The perpetrator is an official with great power and authority and a support network more favorable than the victim’s. In such a case, victims would likely have difficulties pursuing justice. 

The government has included legal certainty guarantees in the Domestic Violence Prevention Law (PKDRT) Number 23 of 2004, as well as the Sexual Violence Prevention Act (TPKS) Number 12 of 2022, to protect women from vulnerability to violence. The government, on the other hand, must build a supportive community ecosystem, as it is important to assist victims in defending their rights and making the best decisions for them. Appropriate decision-making is an essential part of the system that will undoubtedly help victims rise from adversity.

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