Women and The State’s Violence

By : Fithri Dzakiyyah Hafizah

Do you still remember about Marsinah’s Case? Or you even do not know about that case either? It is important for me to ask those questions dealing with woman and State’s Violence. Because, we do need to pay more attention to the history, notably in Indonesia, to looking for the real fact about what was occurred on women in the past. Concerning woman and the state’s violence, in this limited discussion I will focus on the subject of women oppression dealing with the state.

Clearly said that in this country, there are still many violence acts against woman which involving some actors supported by the country. Accordingly, we should know that that violence is one of the systematical efforts to control citizens in order to conquer to the state.

Karlina Supelli, An expert of women’s cosmology, asserts that violence toward women was happened whether if it is individually or collectively. Besides, most of victims are only included as the part of criminal statistic in a country without any uncovering about blood, tears, hurt feelings, broken souls, violence, cruelty, torturing which probably never can be imagined by normal mind. Previously, I have mentioned about Marsinah’s case as the real example.

Briefly speaking, Marsinah was a women activist who led a strike at the PT Catur Putra Surya watch factory in Surabaya, East Java. On May 8, 1993, three days after the strike, her body was found in an open-walled hut at a paddyfield field near a teak forest in Jegong Hamlet Wilangan Village, Nganjuk District, East Java. The medical examination found that she had died as a result of injuries inflicted during torture. Although there was considerable circumstantial evidence that she had been kidnapped and killed by the military, in 1994 nine managerial personnel and security guards from the factory were tried and convicted of the murder. All of the defendants claimed that they had been tortured in order to extract confessions. On May 5, 1995, all nine were released.   After 14 years of Reformasi and 19 years since her murder, the Marsinah case is still being neglected. Marsinah’s grave has been exhumed three times and a fact finding team formed, but the case has never been resolved. Moreover in 2002 the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) attempted to reopen the Marsinah case but failed to reveal the real killer. [1]

Some feminist or women movements in the world are raise the theme about women oppression and violence against women. As the result, there was a united conference in 1985 which the title “Decade for Women”.  In this case, Karlina Supelli said that we cannot see this movement as the effort to give special treatment for women as the part of human group. But, we have to see that actually women are the part of humanity itself. However, purposely, women have been became the victim through the hegemony structural relation, domination and extraordinariness among males and females. A relation that makes women became victim because of her women bodyness. Females’ body became the identity which determines her existence.

Regarding this, in November 25th, usually, women’s movement communities commemorate it as the International Day of nonviolence against women.  But different from Marsinah’s case, historically, this commemoration is one of the appreciation on the tragic incident which was experienced by three girls, they are, Minerva, Maria Teresa, and Patricia Mirabel. The incident was begun on November 25th 1960 when those three sisters were killed by military regime of General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo who was in authority at that time in the Republic of Dominica.

In conclusion, regarding the violence against woman such as within Marsinah case, I do expect the government to pay more attention to solve Marsinah case, because for the next year, the legal status of Marsinah case will be expired. If it happens, it will create any impression that the government does not have any intention or notice toward woman rights. In short, it can be one of the evidences of patriarchy and the subject about woman and the state’s violence apparently endless. *

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