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Jakarta, 19 Sept. (AKI/Jakarta Post) – Indonesian women’s rights activists condemned Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo for his statement that shifted the blame for a spike in rape cases onto women wearing tight and revealing outfits.
Fauzi said on Friday that women should not wear miniskirts when riding public transportation vehicles to avoid “any unwanted consequences”.
“I urge women in Jakarta and other cities to avoid wearing miniskirts when they ride on these minivans, because this could arouse male drivers and passengers,” Fauzi said responding to questions on what the city government would do to reduce the number of rape cases in the city. Activists were outraged by the statement, saying that it was a shameful statement from a public official.
“Fauzi should just resign. The governor of Jakarta should not make such statements as it does not reflect good governance principles,” said director of Jurnal Perempuan Foundation Mariana Amiruddin.
Mariana said that rape should be considered as a crime, no matter what triggered the act.
“By attributing rape to how women dress Fauzi is blaming the victims. This is like saying that if Fauzi drove the minivan, he would think that it would be all right for him to rape female passengers in mini skirts,” she said.
Chairperson of the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) Yuniyanti Chuzaifah said that Fauzi’s statement was a classic statement of authority putting the blame on victims.
“His statement suggests that it is women who should be responsible [when a rape occurs],” she said.
Yuniyanti said Fauzi had done a lousy job in gender education for Jakarta residents.
“As the highest-ranking official in the city, Fauzi should be aware that people follow his example. If he’s saying things like this, people will think that he’s right,” she said.
This is not the first time government officials have made statements that shifted the blame for rape onto women.
In 2009, West Aceh regent Ramli Mansur made national headlines for suggesting that it was all right to rape a woman who wore tight pants.