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Indonesia

Women now face ´economic violence´

Updated: March 16, 2009 11:44 AM GMT
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Economic violence by preventing women from earning a living was the most common form of violence against women in 2008, a recent report says. "The National Commission on Violence Against Women listed economic violence within the family and sexual violence within the community as the two main forms of violence women face," Ninik Rahayu announced in presenting the report. The commission´s deputy head went on to explain the report was compiled based on cases of violence against women that service organizations, hospitals and legal institutions dealt with in 2008. The annual report was released at a March 7 press conference to mark International Women´s Day the following day. Rahayu later cited the example of husbands prohibiting their wives from working as an instance of economic violence. She pointed out that such action violates the law on Abolition of Domestic Violence, which says no one can make another person dependent by prohibiting the person from having a job. According to the report, economic violence is directed most frequently against wives and accounted for 6,800 of the 46,884 reported cases of violence against them. Quoting from 2008 data of Lembaga Mitra (partnership foundation), the report also says violence against wives was the most widespread form of domestic violence. Of the 1,870 reported cases of sexual violence within the community, 469 were against women under the age of 18, the report says. For both economic and sexual violence, the Java region that recorded the most cases. Commenting on the report, Father Serafin Danny Sanusi, executive secretary of the Indonesian Catholic bishops´ commission for migrants, pointed to local culture is an important factor in such violence. "Women in certain regions are regarded as ´a supplement to a man´s life,´" the priest said on March 13. He cited the Javanese phrase konco wingking for a wife, meaning "the friend at the back of the house." The national commission´s annual report says cases of reported violence against women increased from 25,522 in 2007 to 54,425 in 2008. Arimbi Heroepoetri, head of its monitoring division, told reporters at the press conference the increase is due mainly to more documentation of cases. The report identifies four categories of women as most susceptible to violence: religious minorities, the economically poor, human rights activists and those in the entertainment sector. On March 8, meanwhile, dozens of representatives of women laborers rallied for two hours in Central Jakarta. They issued a two-page statement rejecting termination of employment.

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