Raising Awareness Towards Zero Tolerance Policy on Preventing Sexual Exploitation and Violence Collaboration with Ministry of National Development Planning

Posted on February 27, 2024 by Dhina Kartikasari

On December 27, 2023, the Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas, in collaboration with UNFPA and the INKLUSI Secretariat, held a seminar on Prevention of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment (PSEAH). Over 100 employees of the Ministry attended this internal event, aiming to enhance their understanding and awareness, reinforce gender sensitivity, and deter tolerance towards sexual violence in the workplace.

In his opening speech, the Secretary of of PPN/Bappenas emphasised the Bappenas’s commitment to preventing gender-based violence (GBV), especially in the workplace, through a zero-tolerance policy. Mr. Amich Alhumami, Deputy for Human Development, Society, and Culture, also stressed the urgency of enhancing human resource capacity in handling GBV within the Ministry.

“The results of the 2021 National Women’s Life Experience Survey  (SPHPN) indicated that 4.8% of sexual violence occurs in the workplace, indicating unequal power relations in work relationships, both in the public and private sectors. This condition is indeed alarming,” stated Mr. Amich Alhumami.

Following the opening session, a representative from UNFPA delivered a comprehensive introduction to PSEAH, covering concepts, variations, principles, and mechanisms for reporting incidents of sexual violence and exploitation. This material is crucial for participants to grasp the fundamental concepts surrounding sexual violence in the workplace, a topic that has often been considered taboo. “It is essential for us to listen to victim rights to address this issue comprehensively,” emphasized Cresti Fitriania from UNFPA.

Subsequently, Chairperson of the Task Force for the Prevention and Handling of Sexual Violence from Padjajaran University elucidated various patterns and forms of sexual violence commonly occurring in the workplace. For instance, perpetrators may exploit their positions and power relations to coerce victims into engaging in sexual relationships. Alternatively, perpetrators may intentionally touch specific parts of the victim’s body without consent. The speakers also highlighted that not all sexual violence involves direct physical contact; it can manifest verbally, visually, or virtually.

The key point conveyed was that sexual violence always involves a violation of an individual’s integrity and bodily autonomy without consent. Therefore, such actions cannot be tolerated and must be addressed seriously to prevent psychological trauma for victims and maintain a safe working environment.

The Head of National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) and an victims’ service provider NGO presented the current situation of sexual violence cases experienced by women in the workplace. According to the Annual Report (CATAHU) of Komnas Perempuan for 2021-2022, hundreds of reports on gender-based violence in the workplace are received annually. However, the cases in these official reports represent only a fraction of the total incidents that occur. Many victims refrain from speaking out due to the strong societal stigma against sexual violence victims and the lack of support and protection policies for reporters within the workplace. These factors hinder victims from obtaining justice.

This internal awareness session is strategic for increasing employee awareness to understand gender inequality issues, promoting internal policies related to preventing sexual violence, and rejecting tolerance towards sexual violence in the workplace. The goal is to create a conducive, safe, and productive working environment.

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