Jakarta – The National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) says that opposition the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS) has become a "hot potato" which is easy to manipulate in the lead up to the 2019 presidential election (pilpres).
Komnas Perempuan made this assessment because opposition to the RUU PKS only emerged following the first presidential debate on January 17.
Komnas Perempuan commissioner Mariana Amiruddin said that in December 2018 when a social movement emerged urging the DPR to immediately deliberate the RUU, there was little or no reaction.
It was only in early January that there was a reaction from the DPR and the Ministry for the Empowerment of Women and Protection of Children (KPPPA) over deliberating and ratifying the RUU.
"Suddenly because of the preoccupation with the pilpres, after the capres [presidential candidate] debate, all of a sudden within just three days opposition quickly began to spread. Moreover this was even before a change.org petition [against the bill] had gained traction", said Amiruddin as quoted by the Antara state news agency on Thursday February 7.
Amiruddin believes that the political situation that has emerged has indeed very much influenced the public's tendency to draw erroneous conclusions about the RUU PKS and it has become easier to inflame the issue. "During the pilpres of course it is effective to manipulate this hot potato among the [voting] public", she said.
Amiruddin asserted that it is urgent that the RUU PKS be enacted because there are currently many obstacles experienced by victims of sexual harassment, particularly women and children, in obtaining rehabilitation and justice.
The lack of legal protections also results in suffering for the victims of sexual violence and their families. Prevailing laws meanwhile only define sexual violence as a morality issue, not a crime.
Between 2013 and 2017, Komnas Perempuan alone received 28,019 reports on cases of sexual violence experienced by women and children which took place in the personal realm as well as the social or public sphere.
Of these cases, 15,068 incidents of sexual violence occurred in the home and 12,951 occurred in the public sphere. (Antara/osc)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "RUU PKS Mendadak Jadi 'Bola Panas' saat Pilpres".]