More women in urban areas fall victim to domestic violence in Indonesia than those in the rural areas, proving that a family’s economic and social statuses do not always have a direct bearing on its susceptibility to violence, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS).
Khariroh Ali, Commissioner of National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), quoted a national survey conducted by BPS in 2017 that revealed that 36.3 percent of women who live in urban areas are prone to domestic violence, compared to women who live in rural areas 29.8 percent.
The survey also shows that 39.4 percent of women who graduated from high school or higher and 35.1 percent of women who do not work have experienced physical, psychological, and sexual violence from their partners or other people. The survey was participated by 9,000 women aged 15-64 years old.
“This data is surprising because we assumed women in the villages who do not work and who have low level education are more vulnerable to domestic violence, but this survey shows the opposite,” said Khariroh in a discussion held last week themed “Women’s Economic Empowerment: The Intersection with Domestic Violence” at @America, Jakarta.
According to Komnas Perempuan’s annual report, 98 percent victims of domestic violence are women. The record also shows that from 2012 to 2017, 65 to 71 percent of the cases are domestic violence.
While economic empowerment may contribute positively to the prevention of domestic violence, some researches show that it can also trigger domestic violence in a family.
“The survey found that when women become financially independent, it triggers domestic violence because men feel that their superiority is threatened. This is what we call toxic masculinity…. They can’t accept women earning more than they do,” added Khariroh.
Therefore, economic empowerment is not the only factor that can prevent domestic violence, she said. The most important thing is to improve access to education to all and to transform social values to end patriarchy.
Khariroh also called on the government to provide support for victims of domestic violence. The state must guarantee protection to violence survivors, providing medical and legal assistance, and creating empowerment programs so that they survive and thrive.
Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Yohana Yembise said the government offers various training programs to empower women economically, including victims of domestic violence. The central government tries to work with regional governments to conduct training and counseling using their Regional Government Budget (APBD).
“We want women to be financially independent and are not dependent entirely on their husbands. That’s why we help facilitate home industries to mothers and women who are victims of domestic violence, including women who are single parents,” said Yohana at the discussion.
Find out how this YouTube channel offers a space for Ugandan women to discuss taboo issues affecting them and follow @bunnnicula on Twitter.