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Indonesia: Sexual violence against female journalists

IFEX Statement - March 4, 2023

A new survey showed that Indonesian female journalists have experienced various forms of sexual violence in the workplace and in the course of fulfilling their duties in the field.

This statement was originally published by the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) on aji.or.id on 20 February 2023.

Female journalists are the most susceptible to sexual violence in the workplace. In the most recent study conducted by AJI Indonesia in collaboration with Regulatory Monitoring and Media Regulators (PR2Media) and with support from International Media Support (IMS), 82,6 percent of respondents reported having experienced sexual violence in the course of their journalistic careers.

The "Sexual Violence Against Indonesian Female Journalists" study surveyed 852 female journalists in 34 regions between September and October 2022. The purpose of this study was to investigate the experiences of female journalists regarding various forms of sexual violence that occur online, offline, in the workplace, and outside of the workplace when female journalists perform journalistic duties.

The majority of respondents surveyed, or 704 individuals (82.6 percent), were victims of sexual violence in various forms. Just 17.4% (148) of respondents had never been the victim of sexual violence during their journalistic careers. The majority (37 percent) of those who had encountered sexual assault had experienced so both online and offline, while 26.8 percent had only experienced it online and 18.8 percent had only experienced it offline.

The report also highlighted the 10 leading types of harassment women journalists experience, including:

(1) offline body shaming (58.9 percent);(2) catcalling offline (51,4 percent);(3) body shaming online (48.6 percent);(4) Receiving sexually explicit text and audiovisual messages online (37.2%);(5) Unwanted sexual contact offline (36.3%);(6) Rude or sexually offensive comments offline (36%);(7) Sexually abusive or insulting online comments (35,1%);(8) Displayed sexually explicit text or audio-visual content offline (27.2 percent);(9) Forced to touch or satisfy the sexual needs of the offender offline (4.8 percent);(10) compelled to engage in sexual activity outside the home (2.6 percent).

AJI Indonesia expects that this research would encourage press companies and press organizations to establish policies for the prevention and management of sexual violence within their respective bodies. These regulations may appear in the form of standard operating procedures, company policies, or collective bargaining agreements.

"Clarity in the workplace regarding the prevention and handling of sexual violence cases can at least offer victims with assurances that they will be able to disclose incidents. This is because this rule can provide assurance that the press organization or organization where the victim lives will handle the case" as AJI Indonesia's chairman Sasmito explained.

On January 11, 2023, AJI Indonesia and PR2Media presented their research to the Press Council. Ninik Rahayu, the chair of the Press Council, will commit and fight for the research results by encouraging media companies to develop SOPs.

Ninik remarked that the research's findings on the prevalence of sexual assault against female journalists emphasize the need of preventing and addressing sexual violence in the press environment.

Please find the research report here: https://bit.ly/research_KS

Source: https://ifex.org/indonesia-sexual-violence-against-female-journalists