News / Asia

Indonesian Minister's Rape Comments Draw Ire

Women wearing miniskirts and tight leggings hold posters to protest against the idea that provocatively dressed women are to blame for sexual assaults, Jakarta, Indonesia (September 2011 File)Women wearing miniskirts and tight leggings hold posters to protest against the idea that provocatively dressed women are to blame for sexual assaults, Jakarta, Indonesia (September 2011 File)
x
Women wearing miniskirts and tight leggings hold posters to protest against the idea that provocatively dressed women are to blame for sexual assaults, Jakarta, Indonesia (September 2011 File)
Women wearing miniskirts and tight leggings hold posters to protest against the idea that provocatively dressed women are to blame for sexual assaults, Jakarta, Indonesia (September 2011 File)
Kate Lamb
In Indonesia, the alleged kidnapping and rape of a girl has drawn international headlines for how she has been treated by school and government officials. Activists say the case reveals long-standing shortcomings in how authorities respond to violence against women.

Late last month a 14-year-old girl living on the outskirts of Jakarta was alleged to have been abducted, held captive and repeatedly raped by several men for a week. She was subsequently expelled for bringing shame upon her school.

But the girl's nightmare did not end there.

Indonesia Education Minister Mohammad Nuh drew more attention to the case after telling reporters last week that rape is sometimes the fault of the victim. The minister said sometimes rape participants "do it for fun ... then the girl alleges it's rape."

The comment provoked a flurry of criticism and a demand from the girl's mother for an apology. But the minister has refused, saying his comments were taken out of context.

On Wednesday education ministry spokesperson Ibnu Hamad told VOA the minister was only making a general comment about rape.

 Hamad says the minister was referring to what he says are many cases of rape that are later proven to be otherwise.

The minister is reported to have issued an apology to online media, but has declined to issue an apology to the alleged rape victim and her family.

Activists have lashed out against the minister's comments, saying they could have some bearing on the case.

If charged with rape, the perpetrator faces a maximum 15 years in jail.  But if the sex is proven to be consensual, the perpetrator faces a maximum seven-year sentence on the abduction charge.

Police are still investigating.

Andi Yetriyani from the National Commission of Violence Against Women says this is not the first time a government minister has been under pressure to retract controversial statements about women.

"We are very concerned because the statement made by the minister of education is not the first time similar comments have been conducted by other ministers," Yetriyani said. "It does show the level of understanding on the violence against women in the state and among the state apparatus. We believe that victimization, blaming the victim as well the culture of denial of responsibility from the state for the recovery of the victims is still widespread.”

Late last year, then-Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo urged women to stop wearing mini skirts on public transport if they wanted to avoid rape.

Following the public outrage generated by this case, the 14-year-old girl from Depok has been permitted to return to school.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs