Combating impunity. Ending silence. Violence against women in Javanese villages

Combating impunity. Ending silence. Violence against women in Javanese villages

Java, Indonesia: In October 2016, Sisters For Change published our first Indonesian report Combating Impunity. Ending silence. Making laws to stop violence against women real for rural women and girls in Java, Indonesia. This report was the result of an 18-month legal empowerment programme with PEKKA Bantul carried out in Bantul, Java – a rural, agro-based community representative of the majority of non-urban communities on the island of Java where 60% of the Indonesian population lives. SFC and PEKKA Bantul conducted a quantitative survey to measure prevalence of violence against women and also collected case evidence, interviews and stakeholder meetings with public authorities across 36 villages in 6 districts.

The report evidences alarming levels of discrimination and violence suffered by women in Bantul and highlights the failings of the formal and informal ‘adat’ justice systems in investigating cases and holding perpetrators to account. Key findings include:

  • 1 in 2 women in rural villages in Bantul have been in a relationship with a partner that was emotionally, physically or sexually abusive 
  • 1 in 5 rural women have experienced rape
  • Over 80% of women who have experienced violence did not report it to the authorities
  • 1 in 2 women who reported violence were doubted, blamed, told violence was not a crime or that it was ’normal’
  • 4 in 5 reported cases resulted in no prosecution of the perpetrator

The primary recommendation made in the report is for improved implementation by public authorities at the village level of the Elimination of Violence in the Household Law 2004 and Indonesian Criminal Code in respect of sexual violence and abuse. We also advocate for the adoption of a victim-centred approach, a greater emphasis on criminal accountability and conviction of perpetrators, and an end to forced mediation between victim and perpetrator which regularly occurs at the village level. In addition, we call on regional and provincial government to prioritise village-level awareness-raising campaigns on violence against women and girls, with the aim of ending social acceptance of violence. 

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