Indonesia Considers Ban on Miniskirts

Indonesian women miniskirts protest Jakarta
Photo: Getty Images
Indonesian women stage a protest wearing miniskirts in Jakarta.

Miniskirts may put the "knees" in Indonesia, but some of the country's top leader claim that they could put women at risk of rape.

House Speaker Markuzi Alie and Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali have sparked outrage after calling for the country to ban miniskirts on the grounds that they lure men into committing sexual violence, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Following last year's comments from Jakarta governor Fauzi Bowo blaming victims' miniskirts for a spike in sexual assaults, Alie has proposed that female lawmakers and government staff be banned from wearing short skirts.

"We know that there have been a series of rapes and other immoral acts recently,” Alie said in early March. “Those things happened because women don’t dress decently, prompting men to do things.”

On March 28, Minister Ali, acting as chairman of the new Anti-Pornography Task Force, added fuel to the fire by suggesting that the proposed ban be extended to all women in Indonesia.

"We still haven’t established criteria, but we know pornography when see it,” Ali is quoted as saying. “There should be general criteria, for example, skirts worn by women must flow past the knees."

Not surprisingly, Indonesian women aren't taking this rape-baiting, pornographic portrayal lightly.

"This country keeps taking steps backward," Masruchah, deputy head of the national commission on violence against women, tells the AFP.

"As a democratic nation, the government must ensure that everybody has the right to express themselves freely, as guaranteed by the constitution. This country must stop criminalizing women's bodies and blaming women's clothing for inviting sexual assault."

Hear, hear. We'll be holding our minis a little tighter tonight.