A Wider Context of Sexual Exploitation of Penan Women and Girls in Middle and Ulu Baram, Sarawak, Malaysia is the result of a fact-finding mission by the Penan Support Group, FORUM-ASIA and Asian Indigenous Women’s Network (AIWN).
The fact-finding mission visited three (3) Penan communities and one (1) Kenyah community and listened to evidence from a further thirteen (13) Penan communities.
The mission found that women were willing to share their stories, but they did not want to go to the authorities owing to the police’s lackadaisical responses in the past and further obstacles including the lack of identity cards, language barriers and the prohibitive cost of travel.
The whole report is available at the URL linked above (also download link for a pdf)
From the report:
Patterns of sexual violence and exploitation
The alleged sexual violence and/or exploitation perpetrated against Penan women and girls follow a pattern. These are:
• The alleged violations consisted of one or more of the following forms: abduction, rape, physical assault, emotional abuse, sexual violence in a marriage,
• In each and every case, the alleged perpetrators were men from logging camps.
• These men were outsiders i.e., Chinese Malaysian, Iban and Indonesian. None of them were local to the area.
• The alleged violations generally took place in two sites: in the logging camps and in the villages. The cases illustrate a common practice of loggers entering the villages in order to sexually harass, use criminal force, assault and prey on the village women as evidenced in the cases of J and N.
• Logging camp authorities were reported to be generally indifferent to the situation facing the women. They did not hold their workers accountable when women are brought to the camp or when women were violated on camp premises. The logging camp authorities protected their workers as evidenced in the cases of A and E.
• In almost all the allegations of sexual violence, there were reports of overt threats, intimidation and/or the use of criminal force and assault. This served to not only silence the reporting of the incidents, but further perpetuated the women’s vulnerability to abuse.
• In five of the seven cases, the women were deserted when they became pregnant. In each of the cases, the men have neither provided any maintenance towards the upkeep of the children not fulfilled their obligations and responsibilities as fathers.
• In each of the alleged violations, no report was lodged and no perpetrator has yet to be brought to justice.
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