Indonesia labelled ‘paedophile paradise’ as gang rape, child sex abuse cases soar

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Indonesia, March 30, 2017 – Asian Correspondent Staff

INDONESIA is struggling to curb its increasing culture of sexual abuse as gang rape cases almost double in a year and child abuse is on the rise, a report says.

According to the Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK), 44 gang rape cases were reported in 2015. This number almost doubled to 82 reported cases last year.

The Jakarta Globe reports that in just the first three months of 2017, 26 gang rapes occurred, three of which resulted in the deaths of the victims.

The issue of sexual violence against women was brought to the fore in May last year after the brutal rape of a 14-year-old school girl by 14 men and boys.

Yuyun was walking home from school when she was dragged into nearby forests and raped repeatedly by the gang who were said to have been drinking prior to the incident.

Her bruised and beaten body was found three days later in undergrowth, hands and feet bound.

The attack was largely ignored by national media until activists spoke out and Yuyun’s case became a cause behind which Indonesian women united, staging protests against sexual violence outside parliament.

According to the National Commission on Child Protection (Komnas PA), Yuyun’s case is far from unique.

“The rape of Yy (Yuyun) in Bengkulu involved 14 rapists, the one in Samarinda involved 13, the one in Semarang – 14,” Komnas PA chairman Arist Merdeka Sirait said at a seminar on Wednesday.

The perpetrators of the attacks, as was the case with Yuyun’s attackers, are often minors themselves. Sixteen percent of attackers were children aged 14 or less, Arist said.

The report also highlights the spread of paedophilia in the country, with Indonesia being seen as one of the “paedophile paradises” in Asia, especially the capital Jakarta and the islands of Bali and Lombok.

Arist criticised the laws of Indonesia calling it “permissive” of child abuse as “sexual violence is only regarded as such when penetration occurs.”

The violent nature of Yuyun’s case, and the resulting media attention, pushed President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to introduce tough new punishments for child sex offenders including a maximum penalty of death and chemical castration.

“Our Constitution respects human rights, but when it comes to sexual crimes, there is no compromise,” Jokowi said at the time.

“In my opinion… chemical castration, if we enforce it consistently, will reduce sex crimes and wipe them out over time.”

By introducing chemical castration, Indonesia joined a small group who use the punishment worldwide, including Poland and some states in the US. In 2011, South Korea became the first Asian country to legalise the punishment.

Offenders may also be forced to wear electronic monitoring devices following their release from jail.

The ring leader of Yuyun’s attack, 23-year-old Zainal, was sentenced to death in September. All other assailants in the case were minors and therefore not eligible for the death penalty. The majority of them received the maximum prison sentence of 10 years.