Doctor of Philosophy
School of Law
Saraswati, Rika, Public and private dichotomy in the legal system: Indonesian women's access to justice when dealing with domestic violence, Doctor of Philosophy thesis, School of Law, University of Wollongong, 2014. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/4270
The study aims to provide an analysis of the experience of Indonesian women in accessing resources (which are available in various spaces, particularly in the family law system and the criminal law system) and to what extent the available resources become a powerful means for these women to access justice. The findings of the research, thus, is expected to reflect an examination of how power is exercised in and through various spaces; and how the spaces (and their boundaries) are defined, defended, and contested based on the Indonesian women’s perspectives and identities. The research presented in the thesis used a qualitative methodology. There were 18 respondents recruited from two groups: first, 14 Indonesian women from Semarang, Central Java (Indonesia); second, four Indonesian women from Sydney and suburbs, New South Wales (Australia). The findings have demonstrated that regardless of their identities, Indonesian women victims in this study have pursued their access to the justice system through accessing resources and by going from one resource to another, from one space to another, and from one legislative framework to another, in which each of these elements has its own power to be contested. The experiences of Indonesian women victims of domestic violence in Indonesia have demonstrated that the negative responses mainly come from the police sector. The presence of bribery, corruption, and often a ‘friendship’ between the police involved and the perpetrator (and/or identification with his situation rather than that of the woman) became the primary cause of such a lack genuine assistance to the women in their attempt to access justice. The Family Law system, either in part or simultaneously (or serially) through several avenues, was approached by the respondents regardless of the response from the Criminal Justice System. However, respondents in Indonesia must first consider their identities (such as religion, whether a wife of state employee, and the reason for filling for divorce) before accessing the Family Law, because the legislation which is provided by the state differs according to those factors. This is very different from the experience of countries such as Australia which because of the basically secular nature of its legislation has a far more universally applicable approach to marriage and divorce. In Indonesia, women who fail to consider their various identities (religion, even husband’s employment) will probably lose in regard to what in theory are their rights in the context of domestic violence.