May 04, 2019
After Women’s March, a Push for Sexual Violence Bill in Indonesia

After another successful Women’s March in Jakarta and surrounding cities, activists vow to push for Sexual Violence Bill.

by Shafira Amalia, Reporter
Issues // Politics and Society
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After another successful Women’s March, the movement said it’s time to focus on pushing parliament to pass the Bill on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS).

"Women's March Jakarta has done its part to raise awareness on the issue, but this is a collective work. We must continue pushing for this so it won't get delayed again," said Anindya Restuviani, the Co-Director of Hollaback! Jakarta, one of the organizations that initiated the march.

"Women are being sexually harassed on a daily basis. We need to stop this madness. We need to show policy makers that RUU PKS is no longer a necessity anymore, but an urgency," she added.

They will face a tough battle as conservative Muslim groups have been strongly against the draft bill, claiming the draft bill promotes pre-marital sex as well as the LGBT culture.

With double the participants of last year's march at about 4,000 people, the recent women’s march is expected to strengthen the voice to be heard by the people and policy makers. The march was postponed from its usual time in March to April 27 to prevent conflict before the election. Like the march in previous years, the crowd started at Sari Pan Pacific Hotel on Jl. Thamrin and ended at Taman Aspirasi across the street from the State Palace. At the park, the marchers gathered for speeches and dance performances.

A hosts of public figures joined the march, including actress and singer Dena Rachman, who expressed her disbelief over the opposition against the bill: “If we have a normal amount of empathy and  pure intentions, we all would understand that RUU PKS intends to protect victims of sexual violence that currently does not have the law on their side.”

Filmmaker Joko Anwar explained why he supported the movement: “A lot of people dismiss the issue because they do not experience gender inequality themselves. And because they don’t experience it, they assume that the problem doesn’t exist.”

With the increase of younger people, there were many first-time marchers this year. One of them is  Ayu Kusumastuti, a 20-something employee: “If the RUU PKS is passed, it will affect lot of things like ending the normalization of violence against women.”

“It will hopefully change the mainstream media’s tendency of victim blaming and make them more accountable and responsible for what they publish or broadcast,” she added.

Find out how this organization helps vulnerable community fights for their fundamental rights.

Shafira Amalia is an International Relations graduate from Parahyangan Catholic University in Bandung. Too tempted by her passion for writing, she declined the dreams of her young self to become a diplomat to be a reporter. Her dreams is to meet Billie Eilish but destroying patriarchy would be cool too.

Follow her on Instagram at @sapphire.dust where she's normally active.