Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Questioning moral values

I have been reading the media cover about the recent raping case. A woman was gang-raped while she was on her way home in the evening. She was taking a public minivan, locally called angkot. And then not long after the incident was reported and spread out like a disease, the governor of Jakarta made a ridiculous statement, asking women not to wear "inviting" clothes to avoid getting raped. His words turned out to be his doom since most of the Jakartaners cursed his statement which forced him to deliver an official apology.

I spent my morning reading what other people had to say about the incident. And I have to agree with most of them. How can you blame women for being the victims? How can miniskirt or any revealing outfits be seen as an invitation for men to rape women wearing such clothes? How can anyone think that it is normal to see revealing outfits are seen as invitations for men to rape the wearers? Does this mean women wearing a hijab will not get raped? How can they be sure? Have they stopped themselves raping women in a hijab?

All these questions of course are left to be unanswered. I am not in the position to answer them, nor trying to find out the answers. These questions, however, show how bad is the perception of women by the Indonesian society (men and women). Ask conservatives old people in your local neighborhood. They would have said what the Jakarta governor said in a hushed voice. Shame on Fauzi Bowo for saying it out loud, but I have to say I am not surprised.

I have once written about my own experience being harassed by the local community just because they thought I was acting immoral by: 1) dating a foreigner, 2) staying the night at my boyfriend's house. And they used their religion as their justification to be involved in my personal life. They said they were trying to protect me. Rite. I wonder where did these people go when a rape incident, like the one I just described, happened? How are they protecting their girls? Note, the rapists of course were Indonesian men, not foreigners.

It is sad, but I think Indonesian people really need to think and reassess their so-called moral values. After all, this the country where you can casually talk about a corruption case in your office while you're sitting in a public car, saying how stupid those people for getting caught, and women got raped because of their outfits and ethnicity.

Added note: I just read the news this morning about the journo beatings at one of Jakarta's high schools. Apparently the journo was trying to cover a "regular" showdown between two high schools when he got beaten instead and his camera was taken by these spoiled brats. After that other journos decided to report the incident to the police, and since the police did their utmost, the journos went on a demonstration in front of the said school. The kids, probably were provoked by such action, decided to attack the journos again. One kid actually boasted the whole incident on his twitter account, but later refused to admit his wrongdoing to the police. What the hell is wrong with this country? Why do people take comfort in violence and abuse? Somehow, I fear this is a part of the whole "globalization".

1 comment:

Eurasian Sensation said...

The irony of this "cover up or you might get raped" mentality is that it is self-perpetuating because it makes men feel less responsible.

In societies where women cover all or most of their bodies, the men are more likely to disrespect any women who do not cover up. A woman who wears a short sleeve shirt and knee-length skirt in the West will be seen as normal; yet in a place like Pakistan, she will be seen as a whore. Her chances of being raped are greater in Pakistan because the men are not conditioned to accept her as a normal person to be respected.

This is one thing I fear for, as Indonesia gradually comes under the sway of hardline Islam. Currently it is one of the most progressive countries in the Islamic world as far as women are concerned, but this may not last.