Women Face Cyberviolence

Women Face Cyberviolence
Jakarta based journalist Nibras Nada Nailufar was shocked about the public response to an article of her’s published online on the evening of Nov. 13. The article relayed the testimony of Jakartans who said there had been no floods in their neighborhoods when former governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama was in office. But many perceived the article as a form of support for the blasphemy convict Ahok, calling it a “hoax” with the intention to undermine the administration of Ahok’s successor, Anies Baswedan.

It was not enough for internet user to merely condemn the article, as they went on to verbally attack Nibras on Facebook and Twitter. “It was severe on my Facebook page,” Nibras told *The Jakarta Post* on Friday. “A lot of them sent [private] mesages, but what i could not accept were my photos being made public, calling me *lonte, perek *[slang words for prostitute] and other things.” The increasing use of the intenet in Indonesia has taken its toll on women.

In a report published this week, the National Commision on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) said cyberviolence against women had been rampant in 2017, calling it a “problem that needs serious attention”. Cyberviolence, the report says, “can degrade women’s lives, can make women seial victims and also effect them in their entire lives”. The forms of cyberviolence
highlighted in the report vary from digital vigilabte acts and sexual exploitation through dating websites to online prostituion.

The latest edition of the commission’s annual report, released to coincide with international Women’s Day on Thursday , mention widely shared footage of an attack against an engaged couple in Cikupa, Tangerang, accused of having premarital sex at the woman’s house on Nov. 11.

The video shows a mob stripping the couple naked, parading them in the street and assaulting them physically. After the video went viral for several day, the Tangerang Police arrested a teenager accused of uploading it to the internet. Another issue highlighted in the report is that of *nikahsiri.com <http://nikahsiri.com>,* which investigators said was a prostitution
website in the guise of a dating website.

Using the tagline “mengubah zina menjadi ibadah” (turning adultery into worship), *nikahsiri.com <http://nikahsiri.com>* offered *nikah siri* (unregisted marriage) and services offering virgin girl and boys for money. The website had attracted more than 5000 members, investigators said, beofre it was shutdown by the government. There were also cases direcly reported to Komnas Perempuan. Last yea, the organization received 65 report of internet-based violence againts women.

The case include attempts to recruit women for human trafficking or terorism; cyberharassment, which is defined as the transmission of text to harm, cow, threaten or disturb victims; cybergrooming, in which petrators get close to victims to deceive them; and malicious distribution, in which perpetrators threaten to spread private photographs or videos.

Cyberharassement was more than just the online form bullying, as in the case of Nibras; it also could be sexsual threats againts women, Komnas Perempuan commissioner Riri Khariroh said last week. Cyberharassement can have a negative impact on women, surveys have shown.

Women report higher levels of emotional stress from cyberharassment than men and differ in their attitudes toward the underlying cause, a Pew Research Center survey found last July. For Komnas Perempuan, cyberviolence is rather a new form of violence againts women. The cases of cyberviolence highlighted in the latest report would have been categorized as dating violence in previous years.

Meanwhile strategic issues observer, Toni Ervianto has said women and children are a vulnerability target from cyberviolence which was spreading through social media. “This condition has shown to us that the lack of media literacy could be endangered social coherence and social
communication among our nation which can be politicized by vested interest to downgrade the government’s image and to decrease the people’s trust to the government,” Toni Ervianto who had earned his master at the University of Indonesia (UI) explained further.

*)Bayu K/Wilnas
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