Gov’t wants to finalize anti-sexual violence bill if it continues to remain in limbo in parliament: minister

Activists demonstrate in favor of RUU Penghapusan Kekerasan Seksual (the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence) in 2018. Photo: Komnas Perempuan / Facebook
Activists demonstrate in favor of RUU Penghapusan Kekerasan Seksual (the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence) in 2018. Photo: Komnas Perempuan / Facebook

The Eradication of Sexual Violence Bill (RUU-PKS) may still be a long way from ratification, but the government has decided to take matters into its own hands to push for its immediate passing into law.

In an interview with Kompas yesterday, Minister for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Yohana Yembise said that if the House of Parliament (DPR) doesn’t immediately finalize the bill, then the government is ready to take over.

“If the DPR wants to let the bill go and leaves it to the government, I think we can do it because we handle women and children issues… We can finalize this bill,” Yohana said.

Yohana added that she had hoped that parliamentary deliberations on RUU-PKS would have been finalized towards the end of the last legislative session in September.

“We have carried out a lot of studies, so many public discussions, and our target was that it would’ve been passed in September before the new legislative session. It turned out it still hasn’t been passed as of today,” she said.

“The number of cases of violence against women is high. There are victims everywhere, and they can’t yet receive the legal protection they deserve.”

RUU-PKS, which entered the National Legislation Program in 2016, was drafted by Komnas Perempuan (The National Commission on Violence Against Women) in cooperation with the Service Provider Forum (FPL).

The bill clearly defines different forms of sexual violence and sets out the responsibilities of the state in dealing with each of those instances. It also provides protection for victims and witnesses, increases access to justice, recovery and reparation mechanisms for victims and rehabilitation for offenders.

RUU-PKS also acknowledges that sexual violence can take place between same-sex partners to provide protection for victims of such crimes — that acknowledgment has reportedly been one of the major roadblocks to the bill’s passage and one of the main reasons for its staunch opposition from conservative groups and parties.

Read also: How can Indonesia deal with marital rape when so many refuse to acknowledge it exists?

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