April 12, 2022, 05.04 PM

KOMPAS.com - Indonesia’s House of Representatives passed a long-awaited bill to tackle sexual violence on Tuesday, April 12.

The legislation aims to provide a legal framework for victims to secure justice in a country where sexual abuse has often been regarded as a private matter.

A majority of lawmakers backed the bill at the plenary session in parliament on Tuesday, overcoming opposition from some conservative groups in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country.

“We hope that the implementation of this law will resolve sexual violence cases,” Speaker of the House Puan Maharani said.

Also readSpeed Up Passage of Anti-Sexual Violence Bill: Indonesias President Aide

The new law recognizes men and children can be victims of sexual violence.

Indonesia’s criminal code, a legacy of the Dutch colonial era, recognizes only rape and lewd crimes committed by men against women and does not have provisions for restitution or other remedies for victims and survivors.

Nine forms of sexual violence are recognized in the law: physical and non-physical sexual harassment, sexual torture, forced contraception, forced sterilization, forced marriage, sexual slavery, sexual exploitation, and cyber sexual harassment.

In addition to acknowledging sexual violence as a punishable criminal act, the law has provisions for protection and recovery for the victims.

Activists have broadly welcomed the bill, though some have objected to its limited scope.

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