The Launch of Bring Back Equality for Girls “Creating Safe Space For Girls” Collaboration of The Body Shop® Indonesia and Yayasan Plan International Indonesia

Indonesia is in a state of sexual violence emergency. This is reflected in the data of the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) which states that in the past 12 years, cases of violence against women in Indonesia have increased by up to 800 percent. Especially when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, cases of Online Gender-Based Violence (KBGO) increased along with the increased activity in the digital world. Fact Sheet and Key Points from Komnas Perempuan’s 2020 Annual Notes show that online gender-based violence has increased from 126 cases in 2019 to 510 cases in 2020. The dominant form of violence is psychological violence, 49% (491 cases) followed by sexual violence 48% (479 cases), and economic violence 2% (22 cases).

The Body Shop® Indonesia in collaboration with Yayasan Plan International Indonesia (Plan Indonesia) held the launch of the Bring Back Equality For Girls project with the theme of “Creating Safe Space For Girls“. This collaboration aims to support the equality of women, especially young girls, to fight for their rights to be protected from various forms of sexual violence as well as to increase public awareness to stop sexual violence against women through the ratification of the Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill.

Through the Bring Back Equality For Girls program, Plan Indonesia will continue the journey as well as the struggle of The Body Shop® Indonesia in the Stop Sexual Violence campaign which was initiated in November 2020. This indicates that the struggle of The Body Shop® Indonesia is not over. The Body Shop® Indonesia will continue to be committed to guarding the journey of the Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill until it is ratified.

Plan Indonesia’s commitment from the start was to encourage every citizen to be able to voice and create an equal path for children and youth, especially girls and young women. Plan Indonesia aims to increase the capacity of girls and young women for self-protection and the ability to have a voice, especially in the digital space, as well as advocating for their right to live in a safe and protected environment by the state.

The collaboration between The Body Shop® Indonesia and Plan Indonesia is expected to convey a strong message to women, especially girls and young women in Indonesia, to support the prevention of sexual violence and equality against women in various aspects of life.

Present as a guest speaker, Suzy Hutomo – Owner & Executive Chairperson of The Body Shop® Indonesia, said that in November 2020 we have committed to continuing the struggle of communities, NGOs, and activists who have fought for the ratification of the Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill since 2012. All of the programs we organized are our support in the form of education and public advocacy with Yayasan Pulih, Magdalene.co, Makassar International Writers Festival, and several Key Opinion Leaders such as Kartika Jahja, Bintang Emon, Hannah Al Rashid, Amy Fitria, and others. Even though the Stop Sexual Violence campaign will end on April 7, our commitment will not stop here. “We, together with Yayasan Pulih, Magdalene.co and the Makassar International Writers Festival will continue to play a role in public advocacy and overseeing the discussion and the ratification process of the Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill, which is now officially included in the 2021 National Legislation Program (Prolegas) with the spirit and determination to fight together until the Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill is ratified”.

During the launching, Dini Widiastuti, Executive Director of Yayasan Plan International Indonesia, revealed that the impact of gender-based violence can have fatal consequences for the development of girls and young women.

“Plan Indonesia is committed to providing protection and encouraging equality for girls, one of which is by collaborating with multiple sectors to create an equal safe space for girls and young women. This collaboration is our effort to reduce the number of gender-based violence against women in Indonesia, ”added Dini.

Indah Sholihati, Co-director of BeWithYou.idn said that the COVID-19 pandemic has made us more active on social media. This often makes us forget to keep the boundaries that we usually keep in the real world. “We can use our time at home to learn new things, one of which is telling stories through social media and normalizing all forms of storytelling without connoting it with negative things. That way, we can create a safe space for all, especially women,” said Indah.

Pomi Ayalew Moges, Program Analyst, Women, Peace, and Security, UN Women said that the Pandemic has underlined the striking inequality for women. Despite these challenges, women, young people, and the organizations representing them are playing an important role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. UN Women Indonesia is proud to support the Bring Back Equality for Girls initiative which highlights the urgent need to involve young women and their networks to strengthen their voices and participation in decision-making to build a better future for everyone.

Veryanto Sitohang, Commissioner and Chair of the Community Participation Sub-Commission, the National Commission on Violence Against Women, said that bringing justice for girls should be the responsibility of all parties. This is in line with 12 critical issues of the Beijing Declaration plus Five of 1995 (Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action/BPFA) Point 12; Girls. This declaration is a reference in advancing women’s rights which is still relevant today.

On March 8, to coincide with the International Women’s Day, The Body Shop® Indonesia together with Yayasan Pulih, Magdalene.co and the Makassar International Writers Festival submitted 421,218 petition signatures to the Chairperson of the Legislative Women’s Caucus of the Republic of Indonesia (KPP-RI) as a manifestation conveying the mandate and hopes of the Indonesian people who support the Stop Sexual Violence campaign of The Body Shop® Indonesia: All Cares, Everyone is Protected, Pass the Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill.

Moving forward, The Body Shop® Indonesia will continue the educational program on sexual violence, especially for young people in Indonesia, which we previously carried out with Magdalene.co through the Campus Online Talkshow program. We are aware that the program in which educating young people and millennials has received a positive response from various participants and has had more of an impact in efforts to straighten out misconceptions, prevent increasing cases of sexual violence, and support the ratification of Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill.

The Body Shop® Indonesia will continue to run the www.tbsfightforsisterhood.co.id microsite, as a forum for information related to sexual violence, and will also continue to collect petitions. Ratify the Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill which as of March 15 has collected 427,766 petitions. Even though later the petition that was initiated has reached the target of 500,000 signatures or even more, The Body Shop® Indonesia will continue to collect petitions until the government ratifies the Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill in the form of a Law which can become a strong legal umbrella in protecting Indonesian citizens from various forms of sexual violence.