What does it feel to be a women pedestrians in Jakarta?

Yes, maybe for some of you who ever been visited Jakarta or at least read any news in online social media ever heard about this kind of issue. Jakarta is a big city, yes even almost as big as Singapore, let say.

In some of the Southeast Asian countries, we might have this common problem about pedestrian in the capital city. Jakarta is one of the big city in Indonesia, which half of its people either using private transportations (like, car or motorcycle) and public transportation (bus, the commuter line, taxi, angkotojek online, etc).  According to the Jakarta Post, as of 2017, there are about 4.8 million cars in Jakarta and about 13.6 million motorcycles.

Yes, it’s big numbers, right?

I actually one of Transjakarta users in which also quite often to access pedestrian road. Transjakarta itself is the name of bus company which own by our local government here. I am working in the central part of Jakarta, where some part of the area has very good pedestrian way, but the other part still worst even not accessible to walk just because of there is a lot of development nearby or hijacked by motorcycle users.

This is one of the problems to walk in a pedestrian way in Jakarta. A lot of motorcycles users take pedestrian way to avoid a heavy traffic jam on the road. Besides that, you will see a lot of food stalls or trucks parked in pedestrian, in which you will feel either annoyed by them or tempted to buy what they sell (but anyway, it’s unhealthy). There are just a few problems which commonly happens in Jakarta, but actually, the main problem which happens to women pedestrians even far beyond of it.

This week, to be exact on 22nd of January is known as National Pedestrian Day in Indonesia. And I would like to share my experiences also maybe a lot of women experiences dealing with the pedestrian road in Jakarta.

Cat-calling. Girls, be prepared for this! You might hear a lot of guys on the street will tease you by whistle or call you with ‘Mba.. Mba’ or even ‘Neng, neng..’ its a nickname to call girl like Miss, in English. They even often look at you from head to toe, just because you wearing a casual cloth which they thought intentionally to see their attention.

Yes, it sucks, I know.

Sexual harassment. I never had this kind of experience, but I knew some friends or heard some girls who experienced this kind of thing. Last year I heard, there was a woman was sexually assaulted in one of crossing bridge in Pondok Indah, it’s nearby in a place where I live. In Indonesia, this kind of assaults can take place even in a very crowded area, even also in a daylight. Unfortunately, in Indonesia, it is such an epidemic and we still don’t have legal protection for sexual harassment.

For women, walking in a big city like Jakarta absolutely will face double risk. First, you never knew when you walk on the sidewalks, you could be raided by motorcycle users. Secondly, you can also be sexually abused.

According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation report frankly said Jakarta had the fifth-most dangerous public transportation system for women in the world and the second in Asian countries, after New Delhi, India.

I don’t mean to make my readers feel worried or afraid to visit Jakarta after you guys reading this. But I want to raise this issue to be our common concern and working together to stop sexual harassment… everywhere! And please, also respect our rights as a woman as well as a pedestrian.