July 10, 2020, 01.10 AM

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The House of Representatives has decided to further postpone another deliberation of Indonesia’s long-anticipated Sexual Violence Bill (RUU PKS) despite the growing number of sexual violence cases.

On July 1, Indonesia’s legislature removed the bill from its Priority National Legislation Program 2020 list amid rising cases of violence against women and children in the country since the coronavirus pandemic started.

Indonesia’s tolerance of sexual violence makes it difficult to pass the sexual violence bill, based on research conducted by Sri Wiyanti Eddyono, chair of the Gadjah Mada University’s (UGM) Law, Gender, and Society Study Center. 

In Indonesian, there is a culture in which sexual violence is viewed as nothing out of the ordinary, according to Sri.

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“We have to admit that the culture of sexual violence is still very strong. Because sexual violence is viewed as something normal, it is treated as something unimportant or rather, tolerated,” said Sri.

This deep-rooted culture of tolerating sexual violence is apparent even at the government level, including at Indonesia’s House of Representatives, said Sri.

It is a culture that looks upon sexual violence as a violation of moral values instead of a crime punishable by law, she added.

This has made deliberations of the bill complex, turning it into a debate on perspectives.

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The latest delay in deliberations comes amid a growing number of sexual violence cases and victims.

Indonesian law should uphold the principle of fairness, Gadjah Mada University’s Sri said, noting that some religious groups label the sexual violence bill as a by-product of liberalism.

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The interests of those religious groups add more burden to the discussion of the bill.

“What has appeared is the perspectives of certain religious groups that, in the name of religion, believe the RUU PKS is a liberal byproduct for upholding gender equality. We have seen these views circulating in government and the House of Representatives,” said Sri.

It is crucial for the sexual violence bill deliberations to start and be approved by the House of Representatives together with the government, Sri said.

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Services and laws for victims of sexual violence are extremely limited, she added, noting that sexual violence cases have nearly zero protection from the justice system.

“I think we can all agree that RUU PKS is an affirmation of the inequality of justice on victim protection," said Sri.

"As an affirmation, it would correct the regulations and justice system that all these years have been negligent towards the victims. Mostly, this is about extending dignity and humanity for sexual violence victims.” 

(Writer: Tsarina Maharani | Editor: Diamanty Meiliana) 

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2020/07/08/19215641/pusat-kajian-gender-ugm-kekerasan-seksual-dianggap-tak-terlalu-penting

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