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Indonesia passes law to prevent sexual violence

The Indonesian House of Representatives passed the TPKS Bill. (Photo: CNN Indonesia)

This is considered a landmark decision, especially after this Muslim country recorded the number of cases sexual violence skyrocketed in the two years of the COVID-19 epidemic raging.

The bill’s purpose is to create a legal framework to protect victims of sexual violence.

After 6 years of discussion and overcoming many obstacles and controversies, the majority of Indonesian parliamentarians unanimously passed the Bill crime of sexual violence (TPKS), creating a legal framework for victims to seek justice and eliminate sexual violence.

Speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives Puan Maharani said that the TPKS bill demonstrates the commitment of the Indonesian government in protecting the rights of women and children. Under the newly passed law, the definition of sexual violence was expanded to include sexual harassment physical and verbal abuse, sexual torture, forced contraception, forced sterilization, forced marriage, sexual slavery, online sexual harassment…

Indonesia passes law to prevent sexual violence - Photo 1.

The Indonesian Parliament approved the TPKS in Jakarta. (Photo: Reuters)

Offenders of sexual abuse both inside and outside of marriage can carry sentences of up to 12 years in prison; the crime of sexual exploitation carries a sentence of 15 years in prison; forced marriage carries a sentence of up to 9 years in prison, including child marriage; Distributing sexually explicit content without consent is punishable by up to four years in prison. The law also stipulates that courts must compel convicts to compensate victims, while authorities need to provide counseling services to victims.

The TPKS bill was born in the context of increasing violence and sexual abuse in Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world. Sexual violence occurs in many forms such as rape in marriage, in the school environment, harassment at work, on the streets and on public transport… Many victims do not dare to report the perpetrators. because social prejudices and legal corridors to punish the perpetrators are not tight.

Many social activists and the Indonesian public have voiced their appreciation for the determination of the Government and the country’s legislature in formulating and passing the Sexual Violence Crimes Law, a law that is believed to have a victim-centered approach and protect future generations. However, some regret that the new law does not cover all crimes of sexual violence, such as forced abortions and rape. The Indonesian government said it could include these crimes in another bill.

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