Karmila Jusup reports on domestic violence and sexual abuse during Covid-19 in Indonesia. She works at a shelter for women, called “Pasundan-Durebang” which is supported by Mission 21.

1. What are the Covid-19 counter measures implemented by the national as well as local governments?

For prevention, central and local governments implement physical distancing. For the provinces of West Java and DKI Jakarta there are large-scale social restrictions/health quarantine.

2.  How does Covid-19 affect your project activities?

COVID -19 has affected our project activities, the number of clients of gender-based violence has increased. Our shelter „Pasundan – Durebang” also provides now online services for clients or victims, but there are also victims or clients that need shelter, medical support and legal assistance urgently.  For those people “Pasundan – Durebang” still provides face to face services with an additional procedure of health checking and keeping a physical distance. While projects related to capacity building such as trainings and workshops and joint activities of the West Java Advocacy Network are postponed, public education is still running online.         

3. How does Covid-19 affect the beneficiaries of your project?

Victims can still access psychological, legal and shelter assistance services, but there is some limitation when we do it online: We experience technical problems such as low signals. For example, an online trial in the court suddenly stopped because of trouble with the communication system. Furthermore, we reached the shelter’s capacity restrictions.     

4. Are there additional activities to live solidarity during this crisis?

There are additional activities namely providing food aid for re-integrated clients and their community members. Most of them are now jobless and therefor have no money for daily life. Also our volunteers deal with these difficulties.      

5. How do you/does the project deal with this threat?

We think it is necessary to provide an emergency fund for those who deal with economic difficulties. We need to invest more in public education on how to manage negative emotions and lead a healthy life. In a long-term perspective, we need to do research on the impact of COVID-19 on women, including migrant worker (there is currently a big exodus from destination countries), therefore Pasundan – Durebang together with Sapa Institut, Catholic Parahyangan University and the West Java Advocacy Network is in process for this research, data collection will be done online.   

6. If possible, could you tell us a recent story of a woman, who has been affected by domestic violence during quarantine/social distancing measures?

Lia (not her real name) is a 17-years old girl who lives with her mother, stepfather and two younger siblings in  a small rented home  (one-bedroom) in a village. Her stepfather, a driver at a small company, departs in the morning and returns home at night, her mother takes care of the household, Lia studied at High School (second grade).

In 2019, Lia was forced to leave her school because her stepfather’s income was declining even though he was still working. As she did not want to be a burden for her mother, Lia started to work at a cellphone counter near her home.

Because of the Covid-19 outbreak and the lock-down, her stepfather’s company had to be closed, also the cellphone counter where Lia worked closed. So they gathered in a small home for the whole day. Lia felt unsafe staying at home because several times Lia has experienced sexual abuse and attempted rape by her stepfather. Lia was also uncomfortable staying at home because she often heard and saw her mother and stepfather fighting.

Pasundan – Durebang has provided shelter for Lia. When the Covid-19 lockdown is over and the school reopens again, Pasundan-Durebang and the Sapa Institute will help Lia to continue her study. But only one day before Lia entered the shelter, her mother and stepfather refused Lia to be out of home! Her mother did not believe what Lia said and experienced,  her mother only heard and followed her husband.  Pasundan – Durebang and Sapa Institut are now struggling to help Lia.