Saturday, 19 January 2019

Mariana Amiruddin: Gender injustice is a loss for everyone

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  • Mariana Amiruddin, Commissioner, National Commission on Violence Against Women. TEMPO/Adri Irianto.

    Mariana Amiruddin, Commissioner, National Commission on Violence Against Women. TEMPO/Adri Irianto.

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Besides its increasing numbers, violence against women is taking on a broader pattern. The National Commission Against Violence Against Women has observed this change through several of their studies. The Commission noted that violence happens in households as well as within the general public.

    For example, in 2015, some 321,752 cases of violence mostly physical against women were recorded in people's homes. This differed from the previous year when in addition to the physical, there was also psychological violence. In communities, sexual violence is still predominent: about 61 percent out of 5,002 cases.

    Mariana Amiruddin, who is chairperson of the Public Participation Sub-Commission of the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), said that the movement to bring change and gender justice in Indonesia must keep on upgrading itself. It should, at the same time, be balanced by non-discriminatory state policies. "Without a movement for change, gender justice is not likely to happen," said Mariana. Two weeks ago, she spoke to Tempo English reporter Isma Savitri on the subject. Excerpts:

    What exactly are the causes of violence against women in Indonesia?

    Gender injustice happens because of our culture. Men and women initially started on an equal basis, but culture forced them to become unequal. Men also felt pressured by a society which forces them to be 'superman'.

    What do you mean? 

    Men also undergo negative experience due to this gender injustice. As small boys, some of them may have been victims of violence in their homes, or witnessed their fathers hitting their mothers. This doesn't benefit anyone.

    Will this create a movement of men protecting women?

    Yes, but we also notice that those involved in such movements are mostly artists, or they are men who no longer work and are no longer all-powerful.

    Which places in Indonesia have the highest number of violence against women?

    The accepted cause of violence is still the same, and that's the patriarchal system. But the traits differ from one region to the next. According to our data, Eastern Indonesia has the highest cases of violence against women. In bigger cities like Jakarta, women have begun to advance and oppose patriarchy. (*)