A long awaited campaign by Indonesians to highlight abuse of girls by their families has been launched by the songwriter of local group Simponi to discover how we can give a voice to women and girls in jeopardy. “Sister in Danger” is a song performed by Simponi (Sindikat Musik Penghuni Bumi or ‘Music Syndicate of Earth Dwellers’) as part of a campaign to promote protection for females. Hundreds of youngsters in Bali are now grouped in a national “Sister in Danger” campaign to eradicate aggression against women and girls in Indonesia.
This vital campaign, spear headed by Simponi, brought together many university and high school students in Bali, the Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), and the Women’s Legal Aid foundation (LBH APIK Bali).
Rape, incest, and domestic violence are taboo subjects within Indonesia and violence against women is not fully recognized as a problem. Women who are battered or tormented by their husbands may be cut-off from community support and many of these victims are scared to freely discuss their problems.
When Simponi launched a mini album in February this year they committed to donate Rp.5,000 for every CD sold to ‘Pundi Perempuan’, a program initiated by Komnas Perempuan and Indonesian for Humanity Foundation (YIK) to support Women’s Crisis Centres in many cities across Indonesia. Local band Simponi cooperated with LBH APIK Bali when they created the ‘Sister In Danger’ Roadshow at two Balinese universities and one school in 2013.
MUSIC FOR AWARENESS
My older sister is in danger / my younger sister is in danger / My mother is in danger / don’t teach us how to dress / teach your brain about humanity / My family is in danger / your family is in danger./ You are all in danger. These are parts of the “Sister in Danger” lyrics performed by local band Simponi to promote safety for girls and women. Music concerts are the main draw of the campaign with additional workshops and discussion groups as part of the tour.
Songwriter M. Berkah Gamulya (Mul) joined the pop-rock band Simponi to sing and learn about humanity, together with the people, especially youth. “Sister In Danger” is a song about sadness, fear and anger and was written as a tribute to the victims and survivors of sexual violence in Indonesia and around the world.
472 domestic violence and sexual abuse cases toward women and children were reported last year, across the island. The Bali branch of the Community Service Center for the Protection of Women and Children found a total of over 782 cases of brutality towards women and children were recorded in Bali the previous year. There were a total of 253 sexual offenses towards women and children, including 190 cases of domestic violence, which were recorded in Denpasar.
Balinese families have a patrilineal family system, which is followed closely within the community. Therefore, it is important to raise awareness among Balinese that domestic offenses are totally unacceptable. Law No. 23/2004 on the elimination of domestic violence stipulates that abusive husbands found guilty in court face a maximum five years imprisonment or a maximum Rp.15,000,000 fine. According to Law No. 23/2002 on child protection, those convicted of child rape or child molestation may face between three and 15 years in prison or a fine of between Rp.60,000,000 and Rp.300,000,000.
There were 12 victims every day in Indonesia during 2011, a number which increased to 20 victims everyday in 2012 (Komnas Perempuan). People often hear stories about domestic violence on national television and read about sexual abuse towards women in newspapers. And yet it is hard for a girl or child to feel supported enough to convey her grim story of violence or rape to a family member, or even the police or society in general. Even a woman who is a direct victim has difficulties speaking up or putting her trust in the authorities.
Domestic violence in Bali is still one of the main causes for divorce. Women are brave enough to leave their husbands and file for divorce. But divorce is shameful, and results in problems for the woman and her family of origin.
With campaigns such as ‘Sister in Danger’ and Komnas Perempuan, more women and girls have found the courage to speak up. Many wives report their husbands for raping daughters to the police station or to the Women’s Crisis Center. By watching the news on TV, the women and girls know what to do.
RESPECT AND EQUALITY
Simponi feel attitude is the key toward positive change. Boys and men should respect women, girls and children just like they respect their own mother and family. Girls and women should have the courage to say ‘no’ to sexual harassment, to report any kind of sexual violence. Males can spread the message of equality, respect and anti-violence through their own interests or hobbies.
Help is required to produce more leaflets and fact sheets to distribute. We need more discussion, more music and film to educate people about gender equality, about human rights, and about children’s rights. Simponi needs more funding to create events, school roadshows, to run Women’s Crisis Centers and to support legal aid foundations. Bali Expat readers can join LBH APIK Bali as a volunteer, or report sexual violence to them. We need to work together to solve this problem.
Contact: Mrs. Ni Nengah Budiwati -LBH APIK Baliat: [email protected]