Guest post by BONOJIT HUSAIN
(Photographs courtesy: Pipit Apriani who is a Jakarta based activist and a blogger)
Protests against sexual violence are spreading across Asia. Last week demonstrations against rape and sexual violence were held in Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Inspired by the protests held in Delhi for last three weeks, hundreds of university students and activists march on the streets of Jakarta few hundred meters away from the Presidential Palace for a world free of sexual violence. The call for the protest march was given by a coalition of University Students’ Unions and civil society organizations in response to the death of RI, a 11-year-old girl, who died last week after suffering severe vaginal and rectal injuries due to repeated sexual assaults.
The protesters demanded from the Government and the House of Representatives to guarantee legal protection of children and women from sexual violence through enhancing the minimum punishment of perpetrators of sexual violence to 20 years. Under current Indonesian law cases of sexual assault against women are categorized as “social misconduct” and in case of children it is classified as “abuse”, both of which attracts imprisonment between a minimum of 2 years and 8 months and a maximum of 12 years. Moreover, a statement issued by the coalition said that other than suitable legal protection, the government must also create a comprehensive system of support for the victims of sexual violence.
The protesters also demanded from the Chief of Police of Indonesia to put his house in order to end the apathy of the police force towards cases of sexual violence.
Condolence was also offered to the victim of the Delhi gangrape case who died in a Singapore hospital.
The coalition has declared 2013 as a year of national emergency regarding sexual crimes and urged all sections of the country to join the fight against sexual violence on women and children.
This text, written by Bonojit Husain, was published first on the blog of the New Socialist Initiative.