Indonesia’s rise in domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic: why it happens and how to seek help


by Ayesha Nadya Muna, Diva Tasya, Belinda Rauf and Ika Krismantari,

Indonesia's rise in domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic: why it happens and how to seek help
The violence at residence sign for help – a easy one-handed signal victims of domestic violence can silently use to cry out for help. Credit:

For 19-year-old Indah (not her actual identify), the COVID-19 pandemic has led to her worst nightmare.

                                                                            <p>Since her brother and his spouse went again to their mother and father' home after he misplaced his job due to the <a href="" rel="tag" class="textTag">pandemic</a>, she has been the goal of her brother's rage. 

“My brother hit me, pulled my hair, and kicked me several times. My lower abdomen is now swollen, and I can even see bruises near my genital area. I experience some trouble breathing as he hit my chest area,” she instructed The Conversation Indonesia just lately.

Indah stated the violence additionally impacted her psychologically.

“I would cry in my sleep unconsciously. I’ve even reached the point where I always lock my door before sleeping as I’m scared that he might kill me while I’m asleep,” Indah shared.

Indah had deliberate to report the matter to the National Commission on Violence Against Women, however her mother and father prevented her from doing so. They believed the incident was a shame to the household and shouldn’t be revealed to the public.

Indah’s case is one instance of how domestic violence has elevated in Indonesia due to the pandemic.

The National Commission on Violence Against Women reports that domestic violence contributed to nearly two-thirds of 319 reported circumstances of violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data from the Legal Aid Foundation of the Indonesian Women’s Association for Justice additionally confirmed up to 110 domestic violence cases have been reported since the lockdown was enforced from March 16 till June 20. The three-month determine is almost half the number of domestic violence cases reported last year.

The majority of COVID-19 domestic violence victims are , heightening the already vulnerable position of Indonesian women.

Women’s vulnerabilities

A recent study by Flinders University, Australia, highlights ladies’s vulnerabilities during this pandemic.

The examine finds that domestic violence circumstances have risen during the pandemic as a result of it provides to the numerous types of ladies’s vulnerabilities.

These vulnerabilities principally exist as their domestic burdens improve due to the pandemic.

Women not solely bear the accountability of managing the family, however are additionally assigned as their youngsters’s academics.

Their burdens improve as youngsters are adapting to the new on-line studying system during the pandemic. Women have been changed into their youngsters’s personal tutors as faculties are closed.

Working moms additionally want to do their make money working from home. Thus, they’ve to juggle multiple responsibilities, creating an awesome burden.

A recent study by the National Commission on Violence Against Women discovered that during the pandemic Indonesian ladies are spending greater than three hours engaged on family duties—4 occasions greater than males.

And when ladies don’t ship, they change into susceptible to violence.

It is a standard perception in Indonesia that girls are additionally accountable for offering meals for the household, however the pandemic has hindered ladies from finishing up this position.

Food costs have surged because of the pandemic, and the newest information present that Indonesian women are forced to spend more money on food for the family.

Apart from that, many of those ladies, principally from the higher center class, have misplaced the assist methods to help them present nutritious meals for the household, equivalent to domestic employees, in-laws or shut relations, due to lockdown and social distancing insurance policies.

The Legal Aid Foundation of the Indonesian Women’s Association for Justice defined that girls are susceptible to domestic violence when households experience food shortages.

Economic hardship due to the pandemic additionally will increase ladies’s vulnerabilities. The pandemic has precipitated many individuals to lose their jobs or have their pay reduce. The discount of family earnings will increase rigidity between relations, with ladies turning into a straightforward goal for abusers who justify their actions due to their monetary difficulties.

“We can see that victims tend to come from low-income households. Pressures in health and the economy, with the addition of the large-scale social restrictions, can add to the burden on individuals and create conflicts,” stated Karel Karsten Himawan, a psychologist and researcher from Pelita Harapan University in Jakarta, Indonesia.

As ladies change into extra susceptible due to rising their domestic burden and financial hardship, insurance policies to halt the unfold of COVID-19 hamper their means to seek help.

Although Indonesia has not applied strict lockdown policies, entry to education and health services is proscribed.

Victims of domestic violence face extra hardships during the pandemic, as they’re isolated from resources that could help them, in accordance to a report from the Pulih Foundation, a psychological service for victims of domestic violence and psychological trauma.

Maria Ulfah Anshor, a commissioner on the National Commission on Violence Against Women, talked about that her organisation’s most important issue is to help victims in accessing disaster centres (protected homes).

Victims are required to present well being certificates stating they’ve examined damaging for COVID-19. This course of has confirmed to be a problem for the victims.

“If they visit hospitals or public health centres to obtain health certificates, they will not be considered as a priority, as they are not elderly or they do not show any COVID-19 symptoms,” Maria stated.

How to discover help: going surfing and discovering native assist

Indah in the story above shared her horrific expertise on Twitter, the place she is aware of her mother and father wouldn’t discover. Trying to seek help on-line, she believes Twitter is her protected house that gives her with some psychological assist.

Through social media platforms, victims can see movies and different content material that inform individuals about the indicators of domestic violence. This content material helps them establish their very own expertise and gives them with data and consciousness to report their abuse.

Recently, the Canadian Women’s Foundation launched the Signal for Help, a easy one-handed signal that victims can use on a video name to silently present they want help.

Organisations coping with domestic violence can be discovered by means of social media. Organisations like the Pulih Foundation have supplied a psychoeducation service in the type of articles, social media content material and webinars tackling subjects on violence.

“In this pandemic, there are many domestic violence hotlines that victims and witnesses of domestic violence can access. Contact them immediately,” stated Siti Mazuma, director of the Legal Aid Foundation of the Indonesian Women’s Association for Justice.

Siti emphasises the significance of empowering a sufferer’s psychological well-being by means of hotlines.

“The most important aspect of this safety plan is the psychology of victims. In many cases, victims want to report but are not psychologically prepared. What happens is that when their husbands cry or police tell them to withdraw their report, these victims easily falter,” Siti stated.

However, some discovered going surfing won’t be the simplest strategy.

Seventeen-year-old Mawar (not an actual identify) shared that she tried to contact a domestic violence hotline after her father hit her and her mom.

“I made several tweets about this issue. I even shared my home address to my followers as I expected something worse to happen. I also asked them to help me access the hotline provided. I tried to call, but no one answered my call,” she stated just lately.

Diahhadi Setyonaluri, a researcher and lecturer at Universitas Indonesia, recommends a community-based strategy.

“Reporting and supervising at the community level is needed in the case that a victim does not realise they are subjugated to domestic violence, but their neighbour does. Neighbours can help with physically distancing victims from their abusers when things get worse. It’s a shared job as a community to look out for each other,” she stated.

Indonesia is a rustic that emphasises social solidarity inside a neighborhood.

“This is a long-term effort because it’s also a problem with existing norms,” Diah stated.

Strong patriarchal norms and conservative religious values that put males above ladies are dominant in Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim inhabitants.

Due to such beliefs, some imagine that hitting ladies is appropriate as they’re anticipated to obey their husband in the family.

“Therefore, we have to normalise within society that hitting women can be classified as domestic and there must also be advocacy in opposition to ,” Diahhadi stated.

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