The news reports say that the women folk in Jakarta were up in arms against its Governor Fauzi Bowo for his remarks that rapes are taking place because women walk about in tight revealing clothes. Scores of women came out in procession in the city and protested against Governor's remarks. They said that instead of blaming their apparels he should have found out and punished the rapists. The Governor apologized later for his remarks seeing the angry mood of women.
This is not the first time a remark like that is made against women. Infact there is a belief among men that the dress of woman plays a part in creating a mood for the rapist. The women would say that it is not the dress but the mind of the person that is to be blamed. While there is some truth in both views a fact remains that the attack against women is increasing alarmingly not only in
but throughout the country. There were thousands of registered cases of molestation in this year itself and it is not simply a question of provocative dress. Jakarta
The problem of
is that there are many ethnic groups in the population and one group attacks the other without much feeling of guilt. The ethnic Chinese women bear the brunt of spontaneous attacks mainly. The situation is so serious that only ugly or old Chinese women can walk safely outside and the women folk from 10 year old upwards are not spared by the attackers. Many families left the country during the riot period. Indonesia
The women there are traditionally supposed to stay back at home while men go out and work for the family. A woman seen outside her home during the night time is looked upon as a transgressor of tradition. The attack against women outside has therefore an element of revenge also for breaking the tradition.
The Police also do not take the complaints of women or the attack on them very seriously. The sexual attack is considered as a social misconduct and not as a serious criminal act and as such invites only mild punishment. Though there is a commission for the welfare of the women in
called 'National commission on violence against women' it has not succeeded in changing the attitude of men. Indonesia
The attitude of Indonesian society on womenfolk has to change first, before the attack on them can be expected to come down. The Government and social workers should campaign for it incessantly.
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