Jakarta. Physical abuse, domestic violence and gender discrimination remain the biggest problems facing Indonesian women, the country's National Commission on Violence Against Women, or Komnas Perempuan, said in a report released on Tuesday (23/01).
The report revealed violence against women remained one of the biggest issues that Indonesian women had to face last year and will likely remain so for years to come.
"In many marriages, violence against women is now committed out in the open and takes on terrifying forms, from disfiguration, mutilation, femicide, sexual assaults to spiritual or economical pressures put on them," the report said.
The commission said a number of cases exposed deeper gender discriminations in society last year, for example the emergence of online dating groups for Indonesian men pursuing polygamy.
"Polygamy and nikah siri [Islamic marriage, not recognized by the state] are threats to civil marriage. They keep violence against women behind closed doors," the commission said.
Komnas Perempuan pointed to a website called AyoPoligami.com (Let's Do Polygamy) that encourages married men to find new partners, despite a government ban on a similar website, nikahsirri.com, in September last year.
Islam, the most popular religion in Indonesia, allows polygamy but demands strict requirements for it.
Other issues affecting Indonesian women that Komnas Perempuan highlighted in the report include child marriage, internet violence, gender discrimination in religious and cultural groups and gang rapes.
It noted that the government has taken a stronger approach to prevent child sexual abuse by issuing a law on chemical castration for convicted pedophiles.
Khariroh Ali, a commissioner at Indonesia's Human Rights National Commission (Komnas HAM) said one of the biggest challenges in protecting women's rights is finding ways to give them better education so they understand the need to take care of their own wellbeing.
Khariroh pointed to cases of violence against women where reporting the crime was not made easy for the victims.
"Women are still frequently blamed for the violence committed against them. It's important that we as a society listen to their stories," she said.