Mar 11, 2012 08:15 PST
The Jakarta Post
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Women’s Rights Still Denied
Rabby Pramudatama, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
With this year’s International Women’s Day around the corner, women in
this country continue to struggle in a male-dominated world and
efforts to protect their rights have been met with opposition from
Data from the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas
Perempuan) said that 119,107 cases of violence against women took
place in 2011, up 13 percent from 105,103 in 2010.
The commission had collected data from 395 partner institutions in 30
provinces and found that sexual harassment against women was one of
the biggest problems.
Komnas Perempuan recorded 4,335 cases of sexual harassment in 2011, of
which 2,937 occurred in public spaces including public transportation
vehicles. The commission recorded 1,751 sexual harassment cases in
public spaces in 2010.
“The core problems in violence against women remain unsolved and they
are the lack of understanding and appreciation among government
officials and policy-makers of how to uphold women’s rights and how to
properly treat them when they become victims,” the commission’s
chairperson Yuniyanti Chuzaifah said on Wednesday.
Yuniyanti’s assessment of the conditions women face in the country
appeared to have been vindicated earlier this week when the House of
Representatives’ households affairs body issued a regulation that bans
female staff from wearing revealing attire, saying that the measure
was taken to prevent immoral conduct.
House Speaker Marzuki Alie said that the regulation was intended to
restore the image of the House by preventing sex scandals there.
Marzuki also said that by weaing revealing clothing, women encouraged
men to make advances on them.
Marzuki’s statement echoed what Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo said late
last year when responding to a series of rapes committed against
female passengers on public transportation vehicles.
Fauzi advised women against wearing provocative clothing while riding
public transportation in order to avoid being raped.
Yuniyanti said that the statement was unfair because it placed the
blame on victims of sexual violence, rather than the perpetrators.
Meanwhile, an effort to protect the rights of women by the
Constitutional Court has been met with staunch opposition by a number
of conservative outfits in the country.
Several Muslim groups including the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and
Nahdlatul Ulama’s Muslimat Women’s Group have lashed out at the
Constitutional Court’s decision to guarantee that the civil rights of
children born out of wedlock should be recognized by their biological
father, saying that the ruling would only encourage adultery.
The MUI has said that the ruling could lead many to think that
adultery was legal.
Firebrand group Hizbut Tahrir condemned the ruling, saying that the
court’s decision was not based on sharia and could encourage adultery.
The Constitutional Court defended its decision on Wednesday in a press
conference, saying that the decision was made to protect women from
having to bear the burden of raising children, when men should also
assume the same responsibility.
“Allowing men to shirk their responsibility would mean that the state
is justifying legal injustice ... against women who have to raise and
educate their children,” Constitutional Court judge Ahmad Fadlil
Fadlil said that the ruling was clearly not an effort to legalize
adultery, but a step toward upholding women’s and children’s rights.
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