The Aceh Provincial Police has denied allegations that cops turned away a woman who was reporting a rape attempt because she was unvaccinated, as reported by an advocacy group.
According to the Banda Aceh Legal Aid Foundation (LBH), a 19-year-old female college student from a village in Aceh Besar regency was home alone on Sunday afternoon, when a man knocked on her door.
“When she opened the door, he covered her mouth and is believed to have attempted to rape the victim,” Banda Aceh LBH advocate Muhammad Qodrat said during a press conference on Tuesday.
Luckily, the victim managed to fight back and the man fled the scene when her mother returned home. The victim, along with village officials, reported the incident to Banda Aceh LBH, who took her to file a report with the Banda Aceh Police.
However, officers turned away the woman from the station, saying that unvaccinated people are not allowed inside the building.
“The victim has a medical note exempting her from getting vaccinated, but she had left it at home. At the time, LBH was representing two other people who were vaccinated, and they were allowed inside,” Qodrat said.
Banda Aceh LBH then took the victim to the Aceh Provincial Police, where there was no vaccine mandate to report a crime, but said that detectives there refused to process the case as the victim had little recollection of the perpetrator’s physical characteristics.
Amid public outrage as to how the case was allegedly handled, authorities denied that officers at the Banda Aceh Police flat out rejected the woman because she was unvaccinated, and alleged that she left the station after refusing to get examined by a doctor to confirm her medical condition.
“So there was no refusal [to admit her], don’t use misleading language. What happened was she was advised to get vaccinated and would have been allowed to come back to file the report,” Aceh Provincial Police spokesman Winardy said today.
At the Aceh Provincial Police HQ, Winardy said officers were accommodating of the victim but alleged that it was her who decided to leave as she was uncomfortable being questioned by a male officer while female officers were out of duty at the time.
Winardy said officers from Aceh Provincial Police’s Special Crimes Unit were eventually deployed to the woman’s home and formally launched an investigation into the case. No details about the investigation have been made public so far.