Orange the World: End Online Gender-based Violence Against Women Now!

December 11, 2021 5:22 pm || By

From the end of November to early of December, the UN Women started a campaign called the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. This annual international campaign kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. This campaign started back in 1991, coordinated each year by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. The global theme for this year is “Orange the world: End violence against women now!”. In support of this civil society initiative, the United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign (UNiTE campaign) calls for global actions to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts, and share knowledge and innovations.[1]

Thirty years have passed since this campaign was started, yet it still persisted until today. Though there are people who believe that we do not need feminism today, but this simply isn’t true. Women are still struggling against oppression for centuries. Though some battles have been partly won—such as the right to vote and equal access to education—women are still affected by all forms of violence and by discrimination in every aspect of life.[2] Indonesia is not exempt from this condition as well.

Historically, Indonesian society is culturally mired with patriarchal customs where men monopolize all roles and women are relegated into a domestic role which often creates conflicts within community that lead to violence against women.[3] Since 2004 until 2021, the National Commission on Violence Against Women of Indonesia (Komnas Perempuan) has noted as much as 544,452 domestic violence cases.[4] Though I personally would take this number with a grain of salt since domestic violence cases are more often not reported due to privacy issues, fear of reprisal, and others.[5] Law enforcements are also known to be unreliable in domestic violence cases, as recently demonstrated by the growing social movement rallying under the #PercumaLaporPolisi (its English equivalent will be ‘it’s useless to report to the police’) which are started because of viral domestic violence case and the police’s subsequent reaction to it.[6]

Even though we aren’t finished with our previous homework, the digital era has brought upon an extension of technological advances, namely the Online Gender-based Violence (KBGO). Komnas Perempuan has taken notice of KBGO and has reported of seeing it rise during the pandemic.[7] In this opportunity, we at the CfDS would like to contribute to the Orange the World campaign by shedding light on a new spectrum of violence against women, namely online gender-based violence against women.

Okay, so, what exactly is KBGO? Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFENet) defines KBGO as an extension of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR’s) gender-based violence, which is defined as direct violence against a person based on their sex or gender. This definition includes actions that cause danger or physical, mental, or sexual harm, threats for said actions, coercion, and erasing independence—so in the context of KBGO, it is everything of said effect that are facilitated by the existence of cyberspace. In 2017, at least 8 forms of KBGO were reported to Komnas Perempuan, which are cyber grooming, cyber harassment, hacking, illegal content, infringement of privacy, malicious distribution, and online defamation, and online recruitment. But the Internet Governance Forum also included behavioral spectrum such as stalking, intimidation, and sexual harassment. KBGO can also affect the offline world where the victim/survivor experienced a combination of physical, sexual, and psychological torture both online and offline.[8]

The number of KBGO cases reported to Komnas Perempuan has undergone a huge jump from 214 cases reported in 2019 to 940 cases in 2020[9] with the most common form of KBGO reported being revenge porn[10], which falls under the malicious distribution category, followed by impersonification, doxxing, and online exhibitionism.[11] To make matters worse, these cases are largely unhandled. Indonesia does not currently have any law to protect its citizens from gender-based violence, let alone KBGO. Indonesia’s current ‘cyber law’, the Information and Electronic Transaction Law (ITE Law), does not have protective clause for KBGO victims—they can even be criminalized by Article 28 Section 1 which may recognize KBGO victims as a perpetrator of pornographic content creation.[12]

Interestingly, a phenomenon of ‘spill out’ became the public’s answer to this overarching gap in Indonesia’s law. Spill out, or the doxxing of KBGO perpetrator’s identity in social media such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, serves as the action KBGO victims took to seek justice. They uploaded the perpetrator’s photo, identity, and the ‘receipts’ of the act in the hope to shame the perpetrators. But this way of handling KBGO is thought to be a ‘double-edged sword’ since the perpetrator may use it to criminalize the victim via ITE Law.[13][14]

Before we head into the closing remarks, I would like to remind you to take the numbers of reported violence cases against women (be it online or offline) with a huge grain of salt since it is always grossly underreported. Specific to KBGO, though, I believe that part of the reason it is so difficult to report KBGO cases because is largely tolerated or overlooked because the nature and impact of digital harms are not widely understood.[15] And this leads to the lack of protective measures against digital harms even at the national level.

Thus, I believe that there is much ado about gender-based violence in the thirty years since the campaign first started in 1991. We haven’t finished our homework on violence against women, and now we are faced with a new yet not-so-new challenge of its online form. My recommendation for this issue stems only from the very thing Orange the World campaign is all about: increasing awareness, galvanizing advocacy efforts, and sharing knowledge on this issue. For Indonesia in particular, we can start by legalizing the Bill proposed on Sexual Violence Prevention (RUU PKS) to create a legal umbrella for protecting women against violence, be it offline or online, and eventually ending gender-based violence against women for good.

Author: Irnasya Shafira
Editor: Amelinda Pandu Kusumaningtyas


[2] Council of Europe Portal. ____. Feminism and Women’s Rights Movements [online] available at

[3] Israpil, I. (2017). Budaya Patriarki Dan Kekerasan Terhadap Perempuan (Sejarah Dan Perkembangannya). PUSAKA, 5(2), 141-150.

[4] (2021). Sepanjang 2004-2021, Komnas Perempuan Catat 544.452 Kekerasan dalam Rumah Tangga [online] available at

[5] Felson, R. B., Messner, S. F., Hoskin, A. W., & Deane, G. (2017). Reasons for Reporting and Not Reporting Domestic Violence to the Police. In Domestic Violence (pp. 79-109). Routledge.

[6] As of the time of this writing, the post of Project Multatuli, the journalists who started the hashtag, is no longer available. Since talking about how the police reacted to the hashtag and the case surrounding it will probably be its own writing, you can read the overall chronology here:

[7] Widadio, N. A. (2021). Laporan kasus kekerasan terhadap perempuan meningkat pada 2021 [online] available at

[8] SAFENet. 2019. Memahami dan Menyikapi Kekerasan Berbasis Gender Online [online] available at

[9] Dinas Kependudukan, Pemberdayaan, dan Perlindungan Anak. (2021). Perjuangan Penyintas KBGO, Cerita Di Balik Angka [online] available at 

[10] Widadio ibid

[11] Zhafira Putri S., Avicenna, Setianingsih. (2021). Mengusut Penanganan Kasus KBGO Selama Pandemi di Indonesia [online] available at

[12] Ibid

[13] (2021). Ungkap Identitas Pelaku Kekerasan Seksual Online Bukan Solusi Bijak [online] available at

[14] I have also written another commentary on this ‘spill out’ act and how it highlights the complex nature of how cases with sexual undertones in Indonesia are seen by law and by its public here:

[15] Suzor, N., Dragiewicz, M., Harris, B., Gillett, R., Burgess, J., & Van Geelen, T. (2019). Human Rights by Design: The Responsibilities of Social Media Platforms to Address Gender‐Based Violence Online. Policy & Internet, 11(1), 84-103.