Reported cases have risen by 50 percent in the past year, National Commission on Violence against Women says
An umbrella, part of an installation placed by activists calling for better women's rights, is seen with a message during a demonstration on International Women’s Day in Jakarta on March 8. (Photo: AFP)
Violence against women in Indonesia rose sharply by nearly 50 percent last year, according to the National Commission on Violence against Women.
In its annual report issued on March 8 to coincide with International Women’s Day, the commission said there were 338,496 reported cases of violence against women in 2021 compared to 226,062 the previous year.
Most cases involved physical, psychological, sexual and economic abuse committed by family members and acquaintances.
West Java province recorded the highest number with 58,395 cases. East Java and Central Java provinces followed with 54,507 and 52,697 cases respectively.
Other provinces including Jakarta, Lampung, North Sumatra, Riau, South Sulawesi, South Sumatra, and West Sumatra also recorded increases.
The commission said the tally was based on its own figures and those from several other groups including the Religious Courts Body.
"We all know that incidents of sexual violence against women in Indonesia remain too high. Gender bias contributes to it"
“The use of information technology and a better communication such as online complaint submission improved public awareness, and e-court services contributed to the rise,” the commission said in a statement.
“This increase is a major challenge for us as we have to respond to at least 16 cases per day with limited staff.”
The commission called on lawmakers to immediately approve a long-awaited anti-sexual violence bill and to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.
The long-awaited bill, aimed at protecting women and children from sexual predators, has been on and off parliament’s agenda since 2012.
A similar demand came from the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI).
"We want the government and lawmakers to approve the sexual violence bill now. It is one of the solutions to help eliminate sexual violations against women"
“We all know that incidents of sexual violence against women in Indonesia remain too high. Gender bias contributes to it. Therefore, to mark International Women’s Day, we call on all people to stop sexual violence against women,” PGI spokesman Reverend Jeirry Sumampow said in a statement.
There were 24,786 cases of sexual violence recorded against women between 2016 and 2020 in Indonesia, according to the commission. Of that number, 7,344 cases involved rape and less than 30 percent of these cases were brought to court.
Referring to its campaign theme for this year’s International Women’s Day — #BreakTheBias — the Protestant pastor said gender bias as well as discrimination and stereotyping “hinder the fulfillment of gender equality in a dynamic society” and “this harms humanity.”
“We want the government and lawmakers to approve the sexual violence bill now. It is one of the solutions to help eliminate sexual violations against women,” Sumampow said.
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