No heaven for women, children

BALI - Although known as a paradise island, Bali has yet to be a paradise for Balinese women and children. Over the years, the number of domestic abuse cases involving Balinese women remains high, while cases of sexual violence toward children have soared at an even higher rate.

As of September last year, the Bali branch of the Community Service Center for the Protection of Women and Children (P2TP2A Bali), which is run under the auspices of the Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry, found a total of 472 domestic violence and sexual abuse cases involving women and children across the island. The figure comprised 67 cases reported to Denpasar Police; 73 in Badung; 22 in Gianyar; 15 in Klungkung; 19 in Karangasem; 7 in Bangli; 73 in Buleleng; 45 in Jembrana; 14 in Tabanan; 66 reported to the Bali Police; and 71 reports made at the P2TP2A Bali office.

"The data is not yet complete, as there are more cases reported in the last three months of 2012 that have not yet been compiled," Endang Widiati, head of the P2TP2A Bali told Bali Daily.

In the previous year, as many as 782 cases of violence involving women and children were recorded in Bali. Of this figure, an overall total of 253 cases of sexual offences to women and children, including 190 cases of domestic violence, were recorded in the island's capital city, Denpasar.

Secretary of the Bali chapter of the Women's Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Apik), Luh Putu Anggraeni, regretted that of the 190 domestic violence cases, only four were brought to court. "Most victims revoke their recourse to criminal proceedings, choosing divorce instead to put an end to their domestic misery," said Anggraeni.

"Divorce is not a deterrent to abusive husbands as they will likely continue their abusive behaviour with other women if they remarry. Such cases of domestic violence require mediation between the wife and husband to prevent reoccurrences in the future," she said. Last year, LBH Apik Bali brought only 12 cases of domestic violence and 16 cases of child sexual abuse to Denpasar District Court.

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