Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo says he is sorry for telling women to avoid rape by wearing "provocative" clothing on public transportation.
“I apologize. My previous statement is prone to misunderstanding. I don’t mean at all to degrade women. I condemn the rapes; the perpetrators must be given severe punishment,” Fauzi said on Friday in Jakarta.
“We will improve security systems and measures. This will be our record,” he said, as quoted by tribunnews.com.
The Governor made his comments in the wake of two recent gang rape cases involving women on public transportation minivans, including the rape of a Binus University student who was subsequently killed.
On Friday, women’s rights activists condemned Fauzi for his statement.
“Fauzi should just resign. The governor of Jakarta should not make such statements as it does not reflect good governance principles,” director of Jurnal Perempuan Foundation Mariana Amiruddin told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
Mariana said that rape should be considered as a crime, no matter what triggered the act.
“By attributing rape to how women dress Fauzi is blaming the victims. This is like saying that if Fauzi drove the minivan, he would think that it would be all right for him to rape female passengers in mini skirts,” she said.
Chairperson of the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) Yuniyanti Chuzaifah said that Fauzi’s statement was a classic statement of authority putting the blame on victims.
“His statement suggests that it is women who should be responsible [when a rape occurs],” she said.
Yuniyanti said Fauzi had done a lousy job in gender education for Jakarta residents.