24th September 2020

Myths and Facts About Sexual Assault in 2020

Fayola Maulida

Based on a survey regarding Sexual Harassment in Public Spaces at the end of 2013, 3 out of 5 women have experienced sexual harassment in public spaces. 1 in 2 victims of abuse are underage.

Today, there is an increasing number of cases of sexual assault in Indonesia. With the current technological development, it’s hard to filter all the information that we receive. Realistically, do we understand the news when we read about cases of sexual assault? What do we know now? Let’s tackle the issue of sexual violence from the very beginning.

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence is any action, whether in the form of words or actions, that is done by a person to control or manipulate another person. And make him engage in unwanted sexual activity.

According to the National Comission on Violence Against Women, there are 15 forms of sexual violence:

  1. Rape;
  2. Sexual Intimidation, including Threats or Attempted Rape;
  3. Sexual Harassment;
  4. Sexual Exploitation;
  5. Trafficking of Women for Sexual Purposes;
  6. Forced Prostitution;
  7. Sexual Slavery;
  8. Coercion of marriage, including hanging divorce;
  9. Coercion of Pregnancy;
  10. Forced Abortion;
  11. Forcing contraception and sterilization;
  12. Sexual Torture;
  13. The punishment is inhuman and sexual in nature;
  14. Traditional sexual practices that harm or discriminate against women;
  15. Sexual control, including through discriminatory regulations reasoned with morality and religion.

Myths and Facts of Sexual Violence

Myth: Sexual violence is rare. Fact: Komnas Perempuan notes that from 2001-2012 there were at least 35 women who became victims of sexual assault every day. It was also found that every 3 hours, there were at least 2 women who had experienced sexual violence.

Myth: Victims of sexual violence wear revealing clothes. Fact: The majority of victims of harassment do not wear revealing clothes when experiencing sexual harassment but wear: long pants/skirts (18%), hijabs (17%), long sleeves (16%), school uniforms (14%), and loose shirts ( 14%).

Myth: Men are not victims of sexual violence. Fact: 1 in 10 victims of sexual harassment in public spaces are male.

Myth: Sexual harassment or violence only occurs at night. Fact: Sexual violence doesn't just happen at night. It happens in the morning (17%), during the day (35%), in the evening (25%), and at night (21%).

Myth: Sexual violence is only done by strangers. Fact: Sexual violence can take the form of forced sexual relations through threats, intimidation or physical force, forcing unwanted sexual relations or forcing sexual relations with other people. Perpetrators are not limited to strangers. However, it can come from married couples, boyfriends, even family members.

  • In 2017, 51.29% perpetrators of sexual violence within private/personal realms were boyfriends.
  • In 2016, 10.6% of women 15-64 years old who had been or were currently married had experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of their partners.
  • 40.6% of the forms of sexual violence in the private sphere are mostly cases of incest. It is largely committed by biological fathers, uncles, older siblings and grandparents.

Myth: Sexual violence is the victim's fault, because the victim "attracts" the perpetrator's attention. Fact: Sexual violence is never the victim’s fault. Victim blaming culture must be eliminated. It is the perpetrator who acts and initiates sexual violence. Victim blaming can take the form of blaming the victim for her clothes, blaming her for not reporting immediately, or questioning why she went out at night alone. This blaming of the victim is what drives the stigma against victims of sexual violence in society. Victims' concern about the stigma that they can be excluded from social life is one of the many reasons for victims to be silent.bold text

Nearly 80% of victims of sexual violence do not report their cases to the police. As many as 20% of them are worried about receiving a negative stamp from the community, 13% feel the police will not help them, and 8% think their rapes are not important enough to report. Meanwhile, from the reports submitted to the police, only 2% of the perpetrators ended up in prison.

So, what should we do if we are friends of victims of sexual violence? 1. Listen and believe the victim's story. 2. Don't stigmatize the victim. 3. Provide information on the rights of the victim. 4. Don't stay still. Get the victim to get help, but don't push it - this is their recovery. 5. Join advocacy activities. 6. Support institutions who provide institutes

These facts are to encourage all of us to further educate ourselves and our communities to provide maximum support for victims of sexual assault. The myths that circulate must be ended now, and we have a role to play. Embrace and provide full support for victims. Indonesia is in a state of emergency in regards to cases of sexual violence.

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