Catholics have joined with other Indonesians to launch an anti-sexual violence campaign to counter the increasing number of women facing abuse.
“We are holding this campaign because sexual violence cases are increasing in Indonesia and happening at individual, public and state spheres,” said Siti Maesaroh, campaign coordinator, at a press conference in Jakarta on Nov. 25.
The National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) and a group of NGOs jointly launched the two-week campaign to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Thirty-seven organizations including the justice and peace desk of Merauke archdiocese and the Papua and Catholic Volunteers for Humanity in Maumere are part of the campaign.
The campaign highlights the increasing number of sexual abuse cases over the last 12 years in Indonesia.
From 1998 to 2010, there have been 295,836 cases of violence against women, 91,311 of which were sexual violence.
Komnas Perempuan's record shows rape, women trafficking and sexual mistreatment as the leading instances of sexual abuse against women.
“Women who fight for human rights, who have physical disability, who live with HIV/AIDS and migrant workers are prone to sexual violence,” said Maesaroh.
The Muslim activist said perpetrators often include family members, close relatives and boyfriends, although employers, neighbors, colleagues and strangers are also to blame for the violence.
Through this campaign, women are exercising their constitutional right to security and legal protection and free themselves from violence and discrimination, she said.
The campaign will include seminars, talk shows, dialogue and a fund raising program for women victims of violence.