JAKARTA — About 50 women in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, donned miniskirts to protest remarks by the Jakarta city governor who blamed a recent gang rape on the victim’s choice of clothing.
Fauzi Bowo called on women Friday not to wear miniskirts when riding on public transport in the capital after a 27-year-old woman was attacked in a public minivan early this month.
Police failed to catch the rapists, but the woman spotted one of the alleged perpetrators two weeks later as he drove the vehicle.
“We are here to express our anger. Instead of giving heavy punishment to the rapists, the governor blamed it on women’s dress. This is discrimination,” protest coordinator Chika Noya told AFP.
Wearing tank tops and short skirts, the women demonstrated at a main roundabout in the capital, some holding a big banner and posters saying: “Don’t tell us how to dress, tell them not to rape” and “My miniskirt is my right.”
“Rape is a serious crime against humanity,” Noya said, adding that the governor should guarantee women’s safety on public transport.
Protester Dhyta Caturani, dressed in a miniskirt and revealing top, said: “The way women dress is not the cause of sexual violence.”
Governor Bowo apologised on Saturday for his remarks but that failed to convince demonstrators.
Jakarta police recorded an increase in recorded rape cases with 41 for this year up to September in the city of 12 million, compared to 40 during the whole of 2010.
Caturani said the protest was inspired by the “SlutWalk” phenomenon which began in Toronto in April when hundreds of women and men took to the streets to protest a comment made by a police constable that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised.”
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