Photo essay: march against sexual violence

On 8 December, an estimated 2,000 people marched through central Jakarta to urge the House of Representatives (DPR) to urgently pass an anti-sexual violence bill that the DPR has been deliberating since early 2017. If the bill is not passed before this batch of legislators leaves the DPR in 2019, the deliberation process must begin again when the new group of lawmakers are sworn in.

 

According to National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) data, the number of cases of violence against women increased 25 per cent from 2016 to 2017, rising from 259,150 cases to 348,446 cases.

 

The march featured a range of creative and well-made signs, with a wide variety of slogans. Many drew on feminist thinking but others reflected Islamic values or anti-colonial sentiments. Here we present a selection of images from the march.

 

All photos by Tunggal Pawestri.

 

“Sexual Violence = Forbidden in Islam. Preventing Sexual Violence = Compulsory. Therefore… Fighting Sexual Violence = Jihad.”

 

Protesters carried a banner reading: “Hear the Voices of Victims, Pass the Anti-Sexual Violence Bill!”

 

“Women Free From the Colonisation of Sexual Violence” (Nyimas Gamparan was a warrior from Banten).

 

The black umbrellas symbolised the need for stronger legal protection against sexual violence.

 

Yellow sign: “Being Strong Doesn’t Mean Using Violence”. White fan: “Sexual Violence is Forbidden in Islam. Come On… Pass the Anti-Sexual Violence Bill!”

 

“Sexual Violence = the Colonisation of Women’s Bodies.”

 

Left: “Anyone can become a victim! Why is the DPR so sluggish? Victims need protection and rehabilitation. Pass the anti-sexual violence bill now!” Right: “Victims are only believed when they have a medical report or evidence. But they need support just to report sexual violence! Listen to the voices of victims, pass the anti-sexual violence bill!”

 

“Sexual violence is NOT caused by the clothes of the victim”

 

“Jail sexual predators. Give victims justice. Pass the anti-sexual violence bill.”

 

About 2,000 people, most of them women, were estimated to have taken part.