Cases of sexual violence involve two parties, namely the perpetrator and the victim. However, victims of sexual violence are common targets of community dismissal. The negative stamp always sticks to the victim. Moreover, if the case has been known by the public. The word ‘bad’ or ‘dissident’ is often spoken by word of mouth. In fact, with the label pinned, the victim has more fear. Not only the burden, yet the recovery process becomes slow. So now, what action should we take to change this status quo?
Support for victims to recover and rise from the darkness of public assumptions can be implemented through various actions. The combat to eliminate stigma consists of various steps. However, the first movement that we can do is through self-education. This can be started by answering fundamental questions like what is stigma? Why does stigma grow?
What is stigma?
Stigma is a negative characteristic attached to a person because of the influence of one’s environment. Goffman (1963) states “stigma as a sign or a mark that designs the bearer as ‘spoiled’ and therefore as valued less than normal people”. This means that stigma is a sign or characteristic that indicates that the owner is carrying something bad, therefore considered lower than other people. As a result of this stigma, various views have arisen stating that victims of sexual violence are individuals who are ‘naughty’ or ‘disobedient’. Not a few also blames the victim for their sexual violence case.
Why does stigma grow?
Stigma can grow in society because of a lack of understanding. Not everyone understands what sexual violence is and its effects on the victims. The role of mass media in the growth of this stigma also has a big impact. From depicting negative images of the victim, presenting myths or stereotypes about sexual violence that are not necessarily true, and many more. According to Link and Phelan (2001), stigma grows from four processes: (1) labeling human differences; (2) stereotyping such differences; (3) separating those labeled from “us”; and (4) status loss and discrimination against those labeled.
What is the effect of stigma? Why does stigma need to be destroyed?
The presence of stigma can have an impact on the victim. In specific, the results of Phulf’s research (in Simanjuntak; 2005) found that there are several impacts or consequences of stigma:
Further influences on the victim can be in the form of fears over the attachment of these stigmas, so that it grows the hesitancy to report, follow up, or seek help over sexual violence acts experienced by victims. The fear of the victim’s poor track record in the eyes of the public is like a phantom that follows. As a result of victims’ delayed recovery can provide a more serious injury for the future.
What are the forms and components of stigma?
The components of stigma are as follows:
What efforts can we make to stop this stigma?
Analyzing the fact that various traumatic influences can affect victims due to the presence of stigma, it brings the urge for us to destroy it quickly. For victims, remember that there is always a chance to recover. It surely takes time, yet it’s not impossible. Finally, always remember that there is no more room left for cases of sexual violence in Indonesia!
Author: Fayola Maulida
Editor: Mellysa Anastasya
Translator: Faye Simanjuntak
 Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia V (2016)
 Clair, M. 2018. Stigma. Core Concepts in Sociology. Harvard.