South Tangerang deputy mayor candidate faces misogyny yet again as old maternity photo resurfaces

Indonesian politician Rahayu Saraswati Djojohadikusumo’s maternity photo reposted for misogynistic ridicule online. Photo: Facebook
Indonesian politician Rahayu Saraswati Djojohadikusumo’s maternity photo reposted for misogynistic ridicule online. Photo: Facebook

Rahayu Saraswati Djojohadikusumo is, unfortunately, no stranger to misogyny and sexual harassment as she runs for deputy mayor of South Tangerang. But the niece of Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto is not taking the latest offense against her lying down.

Over the weekend, a Facebook user reposted a photo of Rahayu, with her pregnant belly visible from an old maternity shoot, along with the caption: “Those who want to perforate (in reference to punching holes in ballot papers) her bellybutton, go ahead. She exposes her bellybutton like that. Is that appropriate for a role model, let alone a leader of South Tangerang?”

Rahayu, who said she first heard about the post from fellow politician Tsamara Amany, responded on Twitter yesterday.

https://twitter.com/RahayuSaraswati/status/1320187581250719744?s=20

“It’s confusing and saddening why a photo from five years ago, which showed the greatness of God through a woman, was used as a political tool in the regional elections,” Rahayu tweeted.

But Rahayu didn’t stop there. While she has stopped short of implying involvement of her election rivals, Rahayu said she is strongly considering reporting the poster to the police for online defamation.

“[The photo] has nothing to do with the election. I believe there is should be no tolerance for sexual harassment, especially towards a photo of a pregnant mother with the words ‘perforate her bellybutton,’” she said.

It’s not clear whether Rahayu’s maternity photo was posted by a legitimate or a throwaway Facebook account.

Rahayu was previously a victim of similar misogynistic remarks from men, including one from a politician who commented “smooth thighs” on a photo of the deputy mayor candidate in running gear. Rahayu chose not to press charges against him, focusing instead on raising awareness about women’s rights.

The South Tangerang election, which is scheduled to take place on Dec. 9, is expected to be a closely fought battle between three candidate pairs. Rahayu, who is paired with mayoral candidate Muhamad, is going to come up against tickets led by Siti Nur Azizah, daughter of Vice President Ma’ruf Amin, and Benyamin Davnie, the current South Tangerang deputy mayor.

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