International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

“Not until the half of our population represented by women and girls can live free from fear, violence and everyday insecurity, can we truly say we live in a fair and equal world.” — UN Secretary-General António Guterres

The United Nations General Assembly has designated the 25th of November as the international day of violence against women. Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, and devastating human rights violations in our world today and the worse part is that it remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it. Worldwide, almost 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday; while 200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM). 71% of all human trafficking victims worldwide are women and girls, and 3 out of 4 of these women and girls are sexually exploited. These figures prove the alarming situation at hand where violence against women and girls is still a pressing issue that needs to be discussed within peers and in bigger forums.

In Indonesia, the situation is just as horrible. According to Komnas Perempuan, as of March 2018, there were 248.446 cases of violence against women reported and handled throughout 2017. In the private/personal sector, the highest percentage is physical violence (41% or 3.982 cases) followed by sexual violence (31% or 2.972 cases), followed by psychological violence and economical violence. The most shocking and despicable fact recorded by the CATAHU 2018, is that incest (when the sexual offense is committed by someone of close familial relations) has been the most widely reported case in Indonesia, however with only 22% of them being reported to the police, and only 13.2% being brought to court. We have all heard of the case in Jambi, of the brother who raped his sister and gotten her pregnant which forced her to have an abortion and her ended up going to prison due to said abortion. This proves how critical the situation is in Indonesia and how much awareness needs to be raised regarding said topics.

And yet, to make the situation even worse than it already is, the stigma and prejudice towards women and girls in Indonesia is at an all time high. Proven by the recent case of sexual violence towards a university student during KKN, where instead of her offender being directly prosecuted by law, the blame was shifted on her by the university officials. Stigma and prejudice has also led to the decrease in reported cases of sexual violence as women grow more and more afraid of being judged by society for being victims of such acts, and instead of ensuring their rights, they remain in the shadows.

If you, or anyone you know have been a victim of violence, never hesitate to report the case to the authorities. One thing everyone, both men and women, should remember is that your body is your authority and if anyone touches it without your consent, you have the right to report.

article by SCORA CIMSA