In March, Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali made headlines by announcing plans to ban skirts above the knee, calling such attire “pornographic.” That month, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Marzuki Alie, proclaimed: “There have been a lot of rape cases and other immoral acts recently and this is because women aren’t wearing appropriate clothes … You know what men are like. Provocative clothing will make them do things.”
A 2011 national study found that an average of 28 women are victims of sexual violence in Indonesia each day. Yet instead of blaming the rapists, senior government officials are blaming women themselves for being attacked.
This attitude is sexist, dangerous and wrong. It is also a distraction from initiatives that could actually prevent sexual assault.
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