Indonesia passes landmark bill that prescribes term of four years for sharing non-consensual sexual content

Indonesia passes landmark bill that prescribes term of four years for sharing non-consensual sexual content

It stipulates that authorities provide counselling to victims and a court must compel convicted abusers to pay restitution.

Indonesia's parliament on Tuesday passed a long-awaited bill to tackle sexual violence.

House speaker Puan Maharani said, "We hope that the implementation of this law will resolve sexual violence cases."

According to Bintang Puspayoga, minister of women empowerment and children protection, "This law is a real manifestation of the country's efforts to prevent any form of sexual violence and to care, protect and rehabilitate the victims as well as to enforce justice."

The bill aims at building stronger cases and helping victims secure justice. In Indonesia, sexual abuse has often been regarded as a private matter.

The lack of avenues for victims of gender-based and sexual violence have been slammed by Indonesian women's rights activists for several years.

"For years, sexual violence wasn't seen as something important," said Vivi Widyawati from the Perempuan Mahardhika, a civil society organisation that was consulted on the bill.

"What we have now is enough to resolve cases," she added.

As per the bill, physical sexual abuse inside and outside marriage now carries a maximum 12-year prison sentence and forced marriage.

Meanwhile, the non-consensual distribution of sexual content is now punishable by a maximum prison sentence of four years.

Indonesia passes landmark bill that prescribes term of four years for sharing non-consensual sexual content
1 in 4 women experienced physical or sexual abuse at the hands of their partner: Lancet

It stipulates that authorities provide counselling to victims and a court must compel convicted abusers to pay restitution. Many victims have chosen not to report abuse in the past.

In 2021, National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) reported 338,496 gender-based violence against women. This was a 50 percent rise from the previous year.

"The parliament has ignored input from the public who objected to the passing of this bill," Kurniasih Mufidayati, an Islamist Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) member of parliament, told Reuters.

The party said the parliament should regulate extramarital sex and urged a ban on relations involving what it described as "deviant" sexual orientation.

In January, President Joko Widodo called on parliament to accelerate the passing of the bill. It had faced several roadblocks as conservative lawmakers said it promoted promiscuity.

Last year, a high-profile case that sparked outrage after an Islamic boarding school teacher had raped 13 of his students.

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