Violence against women has been dramatically on the rise in Jakarta and its surrounding areas, and most cases have involved the victims' inner circle or those close to them.
In the observance of International Women's Day on Saturday, the Legal Aid Foundation of the Indonesian Women's Association for Justice (LBH APIK) expressed its deep concern over the 51.6 percent increase in violence against women to 992 cases in 2013 from 654 cases in 2012 and 700 cases in 2011.
Rinto Tri Hasworo, a legal service coordinator for the LBH APIK said that out of the 992 cases, 326 cases were directly handled by the LBH APIK and that 84.66 percent of perpetrators were those who were close to the victims.
'Most of the perpetrators were either husbands or boyfriends,' he said.
'Such findings were really alarming as the perpetrators were supposed to protect the victims,' he added.
Rinto said that the reality was aggravated by the preference of police to seek consensus between conflicting sides.
'That's why the police have often asked for additional witnesses in the cases although they know it is almost impossible to get witnesses to testify,' he said.
LBH APIK executive director Ratna Batara Munti called on the government to create a special law on violence committed by those who have close ties with their victims.
According to her, as in the 2004 Domestic Violence Eradication Law (UU PKDRT), relations between couples with unregistered marriages, lovers as well as friends, should be regulated and that people found guilty of exerting violence against someone close to them should be harshly punished.
Ratna cited the rape case involving poet Sitok Srengenge and the recent murder of Ade Sara Angelina Suroto allegedly by her ex-boyfriend and his current girlfriend as examples for why the special law was needed.
'Developed countries such as the United States have laws that regulate provisions about violent acts committed by people with close ties with the victims,' she said.
Ratna said that the LBH APIK had also called on the government and the House of Representatives to integrate the UU PKDRT into religious institutions and endorse the bill on gender equality and justice (RUU KKG).
'We have been approaching female migrant-worker communities, domestic helpers and urban housewives to raise awareness on the importance of eradicating violence against women. We have also approached religious institutions and media to campaign for the protection of women as well as stop violence against them,' he said.
Rianto said that incidents of violence involving public officials, soldiers and police personnel were also much more difficult to handle due to bureaucracy.
'Public officials usually have power to muffle cases implicating them,' he said, adding that apparatus personnel, especially the Indonesian Military (TNI), were difficult to prosecute because they had their own justice system.
Ninik Rahayu, a commissioner from The National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) said that the government should set up an open justice system so TNI members and police involved in domestic violence and other forms of violence against women could be brought to justice.
All citizens should be equal before the law, Ninik said. (ask)