Jakarta – The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) faction at the House of Representatives has rejected the passing of the long-awaited sexual violence bill, saying the bill has a "liberal perspective" that is contradictory to Pancasila and religious values.
"The PKS is determined to reject the draft bill and will take constitutional steps to drop the bill's deliberation," Jazuli Juwaini, chairman of the PKS faction at the House, said as quoted by kompas.com on Tuesday.
Jazuli said the party had tried to provide input but their suggestions were not accommodated.
He said the party objected to the definition and scope of sexual violence, which it deemed to have a liberal perspective that is not in line with Pancasila values, religious norms and Eastern culture.
"It even has the pretense to promote free sex and deviant sexual behavior," he said.
While a number of Islamic organizations such as Nahdlatul Ulama's (NU) women organization, Fatayat NU, have voiced their support for the bill, the more conservative Islamic groups, like the PKS, have strongly expressed their opposition to the bill.
According to some Islamic groups, the main problem of the bill is that it fails to include adultery as a sexual crime and therefore the bill, by omission, allows consensual sex outside of marriage and at the same time potentially criminalizes a husband just because the wife is reluctant to have sexual intercourse.
Maimon Herawati, a Padjadjaran University lecturer, recently launched an online petition calling on Muslims to reject the bill, which she said was pro-adultery and pro-LGBT.
"The idea that women should be given the legal power to protect themselves is good, but there is a gap that was deliberately made to allow [loopholes]," the petition said. "There is no regulation on sexual crimes, such as sexual relations that violate moral and religious norms."
The bill defines sexual violence as any "action that debases, insults, attacks [...] the body of someone, their sexual desire or/and their reproductive function, forcefully, [or] against their will, [or] causing them to be unable to give permission freely due to power and/or gender relations, which could lead to physical, psychological, sexual suffering, and economic, social, cultural and political losses."
The bill categorizes as sexual violence sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, forced use of contraceptive, forced abortion, rape, forced marriage, forced prostitution, sexual slavery and sexual torture.
The sexual violence bill was first proposed in 2016 after the gang rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in Bengkulu and gained traction again at the end of last year as the case of Baiq Nuril, a sexual harassment victim in West Nusa Nusa Tenggara (NTB) who was convicted for defaming her alleged harasser, came to light.
The National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), which helped compose the bill, has said that critics did not understand the intention of the bill.
"We hope that we can meet with them to discuss the bill, because I'm sure that no woman would be against eradicating sexual violence," commissioner Mariana Amiruddin said recently. (vny)