As I checked the news feed of one of Indonesia’s leading English language newspaper, I’m once again informed of another case of sexual violence, that happened in our busy metropolitan. This just goes on to show that no matter how societies are advancing, some of its citizens still are paying the prize of a patriarchal mindset. Women.
According to the report by Indonesia’s National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), 35 women experience sexual violence in whatever form it takes, or three women in every three hours. Of course, this is absolutely concerning to me and I see that a lot of legal reform must be done to tackle this issue. However, the article stated that the man responsible has been detained and could be charged under Indonesia’s Criminal Code, Article 351, resulting in a 5-year imprisonment. Still, why this still concerns me is that with the staggering numbers of sexual violence occurrences, women still hesitate to report of their assaults. Why is that so? Because they will always be deemed as perpetrators, with people shifting their rhetorics over what could a woman have said to upset her attacker, or the clothes that she was wearing at the time. This is utter bullshit because I think that we shouldn’t even rethink even for once second when it comes to violence. I know that what I’m telling you is nothing new but I believe that constant attempts at providing awareness will help us find better ways when approaching cases of sexual violence. We should always take this problem seriously, and all efforts should also include the involvement of men. Right?
I remember coming across this matter-of-fact tweet from one journalist of the news source I referred to in the beginning, which to me just oozes with utter ignorance and justification of male power. Now, it wasn’t specifically about sexual violence but it is dangerously leaning towards it and unfortunately, sarcasm doesn’t help at all. So, the tweet basically stated that men are controlled by sexual impulse, and we as a society shouldn’t really expect much from a creature who thinks about sex every seven seconds. What do you think?
I’m a firm believer that if one wants to blow people’s minds in being witty, there are boundaries. That tweet merely puts out another layer of foundation, strengthening the idea that sexual violence is a tool in a system of patriarchal oppression. It also doesn’t promote any form of gender equality because this person is generalizing male sexuality, pulling men down into a categorization of sex-maniacs; making everything a lot worse and misrepresenting other men who think otherwise, men who actually strive for equality and respect. Despite major condemnation of what patriarchy means, do we think that men actually like to be viewed as sexually violent? There is no harm in trying to mobilize men to respect the women in their lives, and we don’t even have to rely on the government to do so. Mothers could teach their young boys about what it means to respect and love women, teachers could implement the values of gender equality while teaching. We need to realize that men can also be the victims of pre-constructed gender norms that are intensified as they grow up by their families, their communities, their schools and the media. Boys and men shouldn’t be discriminated of behaviors that arecontradictory to the “male ideal” or what it means to be a man. I hope that in time, I won’t have to see ridiculous statements like these and for us to continue fighting to raise this awareness about male involvement.