Jakarta. The Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, or ICJR, has called on law enforcers to improve protection of victims of violence, especially of sexual assault, after a 17-year-old rape survivor committed suicide in Bogor, West Java, in early July.
In a statement issued on Saturday (14/07), ICJR said the rape case reflects the shortcomings in Indonesia's victim protection efforts.
"This case reflects our current mechanism of victim protection. It has yet to guarantee a sense of safety for the victims. Assistance for rape victims remains inadequate, whether it is legal, medical or psychological assistance."
The Bogor rape case was revealed only after the victim took her own life.
"For about a week she was extremely depressed, she didn't eat and her condition was deteriorating, until she committed suicide," Bogor Police chief Comr. AM Dicky said, as quoted by BeritaSatu.com.
The teenager only told what happened to a friend, her family did not know anything.
"The victim was repeatedly raped, her rapists took turns … After receiving the report from her family, we conducted an investigation and we now have seven people in custody," Dicky said, adding that one suspected rapist remains at large and that the youngest one is only 14 years old.
According to the head of the Bogor Integrated Care Center for the Empowerment of Women and Children (P2TP2A), Euis Kurniasih, in rape cases parents and the victim's immediate environment do not offer much support.
"These cases tend to be handled at a very late stage, which further harms the victims," Euis said, as quoted by Suara Pembaruan.
In Bogor itself rape cases are very rarely reported, she added, urging the local government to step up efforts to prevent sexual violence.
According to ICJR, the law and government responses to sexual assault are focused only on punishing the perpetrators..
"There are no points related to the rights of the victims to have easy access in reporting their respective cases, including a guarantee to assistance, and rights to restitution," ICJR said.
The Bogor case is not the first one. Another rape victim killed herself in Bandung, West Java, in 2017, and another one in Medan, North Sumatra, after police advised her to make peace with the rapist.
"The government must realize that addressing sexual abuse does not end in punishing the perpetrators. The rights of the victims and their survival are crucial factors to consider," ICJR said.
In Indonesia, ICJR data shows, 96 percent of victims are too scared to report sexual assault, and when they do, they are often met with intimidation and stigmatized.