A 13-year-old girl from South Denpasar has been identified as a victim of alleged rape at the hands of her cousin and uncle, a case that further highlights the need for law enforcement in cases of sexual violence in Indonesia.
The case came to light after the victim, identified as Mawar by local media outlets, went in for an examination at a local Puskesmas (community clinic). The clinic staff reportedly grew concerned after seeing her behavior, and later coordinated with the Integrated Center for Women and Children Empowerment office (P2TP2A) in Denpasar city.
“We recently communicated with her and it’s true that she was raped by her cousin and became pregnant. But then after the child was born, she was raped by her own in-law,” Gusti Ayu Agung Yuli Marhaeningsih, a legal counsel at the center, said.
Mawar and her parents have reportedly spoken to officers at P2TP2A at this point, who gave more details about the incident. The family did not report the first rape incident because they felt that responsibility has been taken by the perpetrator, whose age is not yet known, by agreeing to marry their child.
“So she was married off, [after] she was raped by her cousin and became pregnant … But because this involves children there was no official ceremony,” Yuli said.
The incident took place in 2019 and Mawar gave birth to her child earlier this year. However, Mawar was reportedly separated from her own child soon after, and was later raped by her father-in-law, who is also her uncle.
The family has yet to file an official report regarding the two rape incidents, though officers are encouraging them to take the matter to the police. Yuli noted that the victim and her family are not very well-informed on matters of the law, and were clueless about the steps they could have taken.
The National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) underscored that the case showcased how sexual violence, including rape, could happen any time.
“Whether it’s someone with familial relations or are related because of marriage, or even those with no ties whatsoever. Such acts [of violence], whatever the reason, must not be tolerated because it deprived the rights and dignity of this 13-year-old girl,” Komnas Perempuan commissioner Maria Ulfah Anshor told Coconuts Bali today.
Maria noted that the perpetrators have violated Indonesia’s Child Protection Law, which stipulates that rape of a minor is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. In addition, Mawar’s case also highlights the prevalency of marrying off rape victims to their rapists in Indonesia.
“Marrying off the victim of rape with her rapist is not a solution, but it aggravates the victim’s healing process,” Maria said.
Though many Indonesians are still lacking in awareness when it comes to available legal instruments, Maria noted that the police and community must band together to eradicate violence against women and children.
“Anyone who hears or witnesses violence against women and children can file a report to the nearest police,” she said.
Read more news and updates from Bali here.
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