Jakarta. Thousands of women and men will march through the streets of Indonesia’s capital to campaign against gender-based violence on Saturday’s (03/03) Women’s March.
The marchers are demanding the protection of the rights of women and other marginalized groups such as migrant workers, factory workers, domestic workers, indigenous people, people with HIV/AIDS, people with different gender identities and sexual orientations and people with disabilities.
According to a 2017 report from the National Commission on Violence Against Women’s (Komnas Perempuan), nearly 270,000 cases of violence against women – committed both in the home and in public – were reported last year.
Rights group Counting Dead Women Indonesia recorded 173 women were killed last year, 95 percent of them by their husbands, fathers or partners.
Komnas Perempuan commissioner Mariana Amiruddin said femicide, or murder of women on account of her gender, simply has to stop.
“Femicide happens because victims are not protected when their lives are most at risk, including in cases of domestic violence. It occurs because of the continuing strength of the patriarchy, that is, the domination of men in their power relations with women,” Mariana said.
The commissioner pointed out that the existing Domestic Violence Law (KDRT) still does not guarantee the protection of women.
“We demand that the government eradicate gender-based violence including those committed against people with different gender identities and sexual orientations at policy and legal levels,” she said.
WMJ 2018’s Demands
According to an official statement from the organizers of Women’s March Jakarta 2018 (WMJ 2018), this year’s march will also push for the ratification of the Elimination of Sexual Violence bill that has been stuck in parliament since 2016.
It will also protest against the discriminative revisions of the criminal code that contain articles outlawing “zina,” or adultery, and sharing of information on contraception and sexual education.
WMJ 2018 organizers have come up with a total of eight demands to be delivered to the government on Saturday.
The list of demands include eliminating violence against women, protecting female workers, assisting the recovery of victims of gender-based violence, eliminating discrimination and violence against women and eliminating stigma and discrimination based on gender, sexuality and health status.
The marchers will also demand not only the protection of but also legal aid and compensation for survivors of gender-based violence.
A series of pre-events have also been held prior to Saturday’s march.
Hollaback, an online initiative to end harassment against women, held a poster-making workshop in South Jakarta on Sunday.
Members of Rumah Faye, Jakarta Feminist Discussion Group, Lentera Indonesia, Do Something Indonesia and Naobun Project took part in it.
Many first-time marchers joined in, turning their thoughts and experiences on the life of women in Indonesia into colorful posters.
Metta Arya, a member of Rumah Faye and first-time marcher, said she’s joining the march to protest violence against children in Indonesia.
“Violence against children happens every day. It causes long-term damage to children and costs us a lot as a society. It’s time for us to pay more attention to it,” Metta said.
Women’s Marches Across Indonesia
Following the success of Women’s March Jakarta 2017, the sequel this year will be held in several cities across Indonesia: Bali, Kupang, Pontianak, Sumba, Bandung, Lampung, Salatiga, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Malang, Serang and Tondano.
“We initially just wanted to invite people from other cities to come to Jakarta for the Women’s March. But the responses we got were overwhelming and so we decided to organize it in 13 other cities as well,” Women’s March 2018 deputy organizer Naila Rizki Zakiah said.
Women’s March Jakarta will focus on gender-based violence, and Naila said every city has the freedom to choose its own theme.
“Every city has its own unique issues. We’re not going to restrict them in any way,” Naila said.
Last year, WMJ attracted 400 marchers. This year, Naila said they expect to double that number.
“Looking at the overwhelming support and enthusiasm we’ve been getting, 800 sounds like a reasonable number. We hope it will be a huge success.”
WMJ 2018 will start from in front of the Sari Pan Pacific Hotel on Jalan Thamrin in Central Jakarta and finish at Aspiration Park in front of the State Palace.