It was just after twelve and the Indonesian woman was about to take the bus home when the Sharia police stopped her. When they found makeup in her bag, they accused her of being a prostitute. The woman was jailed for three days and also had to pay fines.
Yet the situation of women in Indonesia has improved in recent years, says Yulia Evin Bharat who visited the Swedish province Blekinge along with Lebanese Racha Nasreddine in the weekend. The women are part of a group of 25 left-wing politicians who took part in an international women’s conference in Stockholm last weekend.
Last Wednesday they met with representatives from women’s shelters in Sölvesborg and Olofström.
The group talked about the status of women in Sweden, and in Lebanon and Indonesia and the Swedes talked about how they work. The women came to the conclusion that there are several similarities between the countries.
“Both Lebanon and Indonesia have come further than I thought in its work against violence towards women. They have shelters and national hotlines,” says Karin Svensson, chairman of Olofström’s Shelter.
– Abused women can get help, both in Lebanon, Indonesia and Sweden, though many do not seek help because they are ashamed of having been beaten.