Indonesia: sexual violence bill stalled in parliament over LGBT issue, says National Commission on Violence Against Women

Although it was submitted 10 years ago, the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence has still not been enacted by the House of Representatives (DPR).

The National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) says that the law has been blocked because the parliament sees it as acknowledging the existence of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

Komnas Perempuan member Sri Nurherwati is urging the DPR’s Commission IX to stop making an issue over the LGBT content in the draft law because passing the law has become even more urgent following a number of recent cases of sexual violence and harassment.

One such case is that which befell Baiq Nuril, a former honorary teacher from Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, who was found guilty of defamation by the Supreme Court after she reported being sexually harassed by a superior.

“In the DPR right now they have been carried away by the issue of the acknowledgement of LGBT in the draft law on sexual violence. I think we needs to insist that the DPR deliberate the bill immediately”, said Nurherwati at her office in the Menteng suburb of Central Jakarta on Wednesday November 14.

Nurherwati said that the perception that the draft law acknowledges LGBT emerged in the DPR’s Commission IX because the section in the draft on the protection of victims of sexual violence not only covers heterosexuals, but also homosexuals. Yet what lawmakers are making an issue about and what is regulated in the draft law are two different things.

“Sexual violence isn’t just experienced by citizens who are hetero, those who are homo also experience it. But that doesn’t mean that we are legalising or supporting LGBT, the context is about sexual violence”, explained Nurherwati.

The importance of ratifying the draft law on sexual violence has sprung up again following the rape and murder of Yuyun, a junior high school student from Bengkulu, which emerged in the media in mid-2016.

If the DPR still has a problem with the section that they think supports LGBT, Nurherwati suggests that they continue deliberating the bill in order to prevent discrimination against other victims of sexual violence.

“If indeed it is to protect the victims, discuss how to protect the victims. Don’t get trapped in a polemic about LGBT because this is urgent, there have already been too many victims of sexual violence”, concluded Nurherwati.

The Draft Law on the Prevention of Sexual Violence should have been included in the 2018 priority national legislation program (Prolegnas). Up until now however, the deliberations have yet to reach an agreement.

Komnas Perempuan’ annual report in March showed that as many as 3,528 cases of sexual violence occurred in the public sphere in 2017. The three kinds of violence which were most common were violations with 911 cases, sexual harassment with 708 cases and rape with 669 cases.

In the private sphere meanwhile, Komnas Perempuan noted that there were 9,609 cases. The largest number of cases involved violence against housewives with 5,167 cases, violence against female children with 2,227 cases and date violence with as many as 1,873 cases. (bin/arh)


CNN Indonesia

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