Sunday, September 18, 2011
About 50 women in Jakarta, Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, donned miniskirts to protest remarks by the Jakarta city governor, Fauzi Bowo who blamed a recent gang rape on the victim's choice of skimpy and revealing clothing.
Fauzi (photo above) earlier on Friday, 16 September 2011, called on women not to wear miniskirts when riding on public transport in the capital after a 27-year-old woman was attacked in a public minivan, early September 2011.
Police failed to catch the rapists, but the woman spotted one of the alleged perpetrators two weeks later as he drove the vehicle.
"We are here to express our anger. Instead of giving heavy punishment to the rapists, the governor blamed it on women's dress. This is discrimination," protest coordinator Chika Noya told media.
Wearing tank tops and short skirts, the women demonstrated at a main roundabout in Jakarta, some holding a big banner and posters saying: "Don't tell us how to dress, tell them not to rape" and "My miniskirt is my right."
"Rape is a serious crime against humanity," Noya said, adding that the governor should guarantee women's safety on public transport.
Protester Dhyta Caturani, dressed in a miniskirt and revealing top, said: "The way women dress is not the cause of sexual violence."
Governor Bowo apologised on Saturday, 17 September 2011 for his remarks but that failed to convince demonstrators.
Jakarta police recorded an increase in recorded rape cases with 41 for this year up to September in the city of 12 million, compared to 40 during the whole of 2010.
Caturani said the protest was inspired by the "SlutWalk" phenomenon which began in Toronto in April when hundreds of women and men took to the streets to protest a comment made by a police constable that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised."
Well, rape is a very sensitive issue in Indonesia especially after the May 1998 riots where it was widely reported that ethnic-Chinese Indonesian women were raped or gang-raped during the mass demonstrations that year which forced long-term President Suharto to resign.
The exact number of Indonesian Chinese women raped during that period were unknown but some media reported that as high as 168 women were victims of that harrowing attacks.
Let us hope that these things would not happen in the future.
Long Live Indonesia, Long Live the World.