House member Tifatul Sembiring criticized for blaming alcohol for sexual assaults against women

At least one woman has been killed by a man every three days so far this year in Indonesia. Activists argue that one of the ways to reduce this tragic statistic is for the government to do more to protect women from sexual violence, as Indonesian laws currently only cover three of the 15 types of sexual violence identified by the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan).

But DPR member and former IT Minister Tifatul Sembiring begs to differ. Tifatul took to Twitter recently to express his belief that sexual violence against women, particularly in the case of YY, a 13-year-old girl who was raped and killed by 14 boys and men in Bengkulu in April, should be blamed on alcohol.

The main cause is alcoholic drinks. People are instead debating about laws against sexual violence, social equity, poverty. THINK…!!

Alcohol is the mother of all evil. The evidence is plenty: rape, murder, hit and run, wife murder. Support the ratification of the law prohibiting alcohol!

In his first tweet, Tifatul highlighted an article in which Social Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa said that YY’s rape and murder suspects consumed alcohol before committing their heinous crime.

That argument was seen by many netizens as simplifying the issue of violence against women and even undermining it.

Maybe you have to read again sir? The majority of rapes in Indonesia did not happen because of alcohol. You’re focusing on the wrong thing if you blame alcohol.

In a crime like this, what’s the main cause? (Links to article of religion teacher sexually assaulting minors)

South Korea is proven to have the highest alcoholic beverage consumption, yet criminality is low, sir. Is this relevant?

We would hope that most people wouldn’t take Tifatul seriously, considering this is the same guy who tweeted that gay people should be killed (not to mention that he banned the likes of Vimeo and Reddit as IT minister).

But unfortunately many Indonesians probably would agree with his reasoning, since it’s easier to blame alcohol (or women’s clothes, or pornography etc) than confront the underlying educational, social and cultural problems that experts and activists point to as the root cause of sexual violence in Indonesia.

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