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Women back in the grip of terror

Violence against women rising despite drop in official numbers

Women back in the grip of terror
Yustina Rostiawati (extreme left) and Yuniyanti Chuzaifah (second from right) at the press conference in Jakarta
An annual report issued by the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) says the number of reported cases of violence against women in Indonesia declined in 2010. At the same time, however, feelings of insecurity among women grew. In its press release issued March 8 in Jakarta, the commission reported that 384 institutions dealt with 105,103 cases of violence against women last year. This number was smaller than the 2009’s data, which recorded 143,586 cases. “This situation cannot be interpreted as a decline of the number and intensity of violence against women. On the other hand, Komnas Perempuan observes that the year 2010 seems to be a turning point for women. They go back to the grip of terror,” said Yustina Rostiawati, the commission’s senior official. The Catholic laywoman also reminded that the data was only the tip of an iceberg. The victims’ difficulty in getting support from relatives, a deep feeling of shame or trauma and a limited access to available institutions dealing with such cases were the reasons why many more women did not report their cases. Worse, she continued, 55 institutions involved in drafting the 2009 report on violence against women did not submit their data last year because of various reasons including an internal recording system. Such a situation was implied in the report of the number of cases of violence against women, she said. “The decline of the number of violence against women dealt with in 2010 can also indicate the decline of capacity of available institutions dealing with such cases, which are run by the state,” she maintained. Saying that the lack of the state’s capacity in helping women becoming victims of violence is very alarming, she warned: “With difficult financial situation and strong culture of violence among the society, women will be the most vulnerable targets of violence.” Meanwhile, the commission’s head Yuniyanti Chuzaifah acknowledged that the number of reported cases of violence against women declined. “But it does not mean that violence in the society also declines. Access to justice is still expensive,” she asserted. IJ13559.1644
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