Indonesian women come forth to speak on domestic violence
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/31/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
According to a recent report by the National Commission of Violence against Women in Indonesia, or Komnas Perempuan, authorities recorded 11,719 cases of domestic violence in 2013, which is up from 8,315 in 2012.
There are a number of psychological or economic reasons why Indonesian women refuse to report their husbands to the police.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Komnas Perempuan, traditionally issues the annual report on violence against women to coincide with International Women's Day on March 8. Due to the restrictive nature of much of Indonesia society, it is feared that these figures are much greater.
"This increase [from 2012] indicates that women are more confident in speaking out," Komnas Perempuan commissioner Justina Rostiawati says.
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"But it doesn't really mean that the previous year's cases were actually fewer because there might have been many victims who were unable to speak out."
Uli Arta Pangaribuan, a lawyer from the Legal Aid Foundation of the Indonesian Women's Association for Justice says that there are a number of psychological or economic reasons why women refuse to report their husbands to the police.
"Their husbands get mad if they do that. They also don't get much support from their families because reporting their cases means giving a bad name to their families."
Pangaribuan admits that reporting abuse claims or initiating divorce proceedings does not always deter additional violence. There are several factors to be considered in filing such claims.
"We give a choice to our clients," Pangaribuan said, adding that victims must consider not only their own safety but also the future of their children when they come forward.
The Legal Aid Foundation also operates a shelter for victims of domestic violence who have decided to press charges against their husbands or sue for divorce.
Like many Indonesians who go under a single name, Mudjiati, a deputy on the women's protection desk at the Ministry of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection, says that the rise in the number of domestic violence cases could be linked to a growing understanding of legal mechanisms available to victims.
Since Indonesia passed the Elimination of Domestic Violence law in 2004, Mudjiati says that "society understands what domestic violence is . [and] there's progress in their understanding of human rights."
Much more needs to be done to protect women in Indonesia. "Society's awareness needs to be improved. Some people tend to think that domestic violence - when there's hitting - is just a family affair and must not be reported. In fact, it's a criminal offense."
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