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Sexual Violence Takes Two to Tango

By Pranichia Islamy Resya

· Asia,Women,Human Rights

30 women experience sexual abuse every day, 11.719 women are abused by their partner in personal domain, 1.074 cases of women raped by strangers, in accordance with National Commission on Violence Against Women Indonesia. Similar cases have rapidly happened lately which caused escalation to 9% of sexual violence issues from 2014 to 2015. Whilst in 2016, there were 259.150 cases had been reported. Moreover, in accordance with Indonesia Statistic Agency reported that 28 million women have experienced sexual violence.

In regards to that case, the maximum sentence prison of the perpetrator is only five to fifteen years based on the Article 82 of Law Number 35/2014 on Child Protection whilst in certain country might be sentenced at ten to twenty-five years. Therefore, The Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence is currently highly expected to be ratified by the House of Representatives and the Government of Indonesia to express more serious actions in protection and prevention of sexual assaults through fair and impartial instruments, siding with victims and covering all types including complexities of sexual violence; the proceedings of the investigation and judiciary which stand up for the victims; and the changes in the views and behavior of law enforcement, policy-making about sexual violence as a crime against humanity, not moral issue. Unfortunately, the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Indonesia has not been ratified until now because of the postponement in regards to the discussion and ratification. However, the longer it is being postponed, the merrier the sexual assaults may occur.

Source: Lentera Sintas Indonesia

Idonesian youth supports the campaign of violence against women.

Photo from Lentera Sintas Indonesia

Yet also the current legal system has prevented victims from finding appropriate ways to express and seek justice, in response, Lentera Sintas Indonesia created a space for them to share and seek support. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”, quoted by Edmund Burke which Sophia Hage, founder of Lentera Sintas Indonesia. When asked the reason why she established Lentera Sintas Indonesia along with her friends, Driana Rini Handayani and Wulan Danoekoesoemo, she explained, “Many people have no idea how to respond to sexual assaults. It is not only about the recovery yet also about the prevention of sexual violence. That is why we try to give courage to society to be involved in eradicating the act of sexual violence”.

Source: Lentera Sintas Indonesia

Photo from Lentera Sintas Indonesia

Hage is also the campaign director of #MulaiBicara (eng: start to speak) made as a foundation to achieve her motivations in eradicating the sexual violence in Indonesia. “This campaign is for us to begin speaking up for sexual violence victims who cannot speak up for themselves,” says Hage in the interview at her house. “We are not forcing them (the victims) to speak, but we are telling you to speak for them (the victims)”, she added. #MulaiBicara campaign is a movement under Lentera Sintas Indonesia that has been implemented since April 2016 to distribute the awareness about sexual violence as a responsibility for everyone, not only for Government and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) but for all. The current activity of #MulaiBicara is to urge the House of Representatives and the Government of Indonesia to quickly ratify the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence by conducting a petition which requires 150.000 signs in total where the current amount of signs is 85.143. “The actual purpose is not only to reach the targeted number, but to advocate and educate public about the existence, the content and the impact of the law if either being implemented or neglected by the institution since people do not mostly aware about this policy,” she explained.

Source: Lentera Sintas Indonesia

Photo from Lentera Sintas Indonesia

Lentera Sintas Indonesia was established in 2011 as a community which gives a space for victims to feel safe and comfortable to share about their experience. It is proven that the victims of sexual violence remain in silent because they feel not safe, scared, and afraid of social judgment coming from society, in accordance with the survey conducted by Lentera Sintas Indonesia with change.org. In 2013, it has developed as a foundation where the responsibilities become wider, not only to handle the victims but also the government, education authorities, and other related law institutions. Since that reformation, the foundation has grown to conduct more activities such as campaign and/or other activities related to sexual violence education, socialization, and advocacy. From those activities, the volunteers started participating in the foundation which always make Hage and the other founders of Lentera Sintas Indonesia have the motivation to break the silence for the victims of sexual violence. The monthly activity by Lentera Sintas Indonesia is private meeting with one hour a half duration assisted by an experienced facilitator for the victims of sexual violence which have been conducted for five years. The private meeting is conducted in various locations which does not take any cost to participate for anyone. The reason why it is called private meeting because the participants are required to sign the consent form that the discussion will only be discussed and never be revealed to anyone but stayed in the location. Besides that, the foundation also conducts a counseling to middle schools until high schools in the region of Jakarta, whilst for the university which segmentation is inside and outside Jakarta, they see the audiences as the changemakers to eradicate the act of sexual violence by persuading them to build a campaign related to the issue and see the correlation with #MulaiBicara campaign itself. “It is a self-feeding loop,” said Hage.

Source: Lentera Sintas Indonesia

Photo from Lentera Sintas Indonesia

In 2016, Lentera Sintas Indonesia has done the counseling about sexual violence to 78 schools, 15.000 students for 5 days with the collaboration of education authorities of Indonesia and 126 volunteers involved. “A girl student once wrote a note to us, I was once sexually abused in a train and because of Lentera Sintas Indonesia, I finally figured out how to respond to that,” said Hage. “And that’s the real measurement of success that we highly appreciate than the number of counseling we did to schools”. The foundation is aware that behavior change towards sexual violence is their challenge to be measured because even though they already gave post-test and free-test, that still cannot be the parameter in measuring the behavior change. The other challenge they face is also how to maintain their movement to always keep on going for long term solutions where the foundation hopes to be a part of national campaign from National Commission on Violence Against Women Indonesia which has to be a role for everyone, not only certain organizations. However, the campaign under Lentera Sintas Indonesia #MulaiBicara has started collaborating with #GerakBersama (eng: moving together) from National Commission on Violence Against Women Indonesia in empowering women which has become their milestone. “We admit that we are proud of it,” added Hage.

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