Update: The father of the victim has wholeheartedly rejected the idea of his daughter marrying the rapist, instead hoping that the suspect gets the harshest punishment available.
Original story follows.
Reparations suggested by a lawyer in a high-profile rape case in Indonesia may just illustrate how some in the country still take sexual crimes lightly.
AT, the 21-year-old son of a member of the Bekasi City Council (DPRD), last week surrendered to the police after a month on the lam for the alleged statutory rape and human trafficking of his 15-year-old girlfriend, PU.
AT’s lawyer, Bambang Sunartyo, said his client has expressed his wish to marry PU to atone for his sins.
“They actually love each other. So [this marriage] would be based on their love,” Bambang said yesterday.
“We will try; this is part of [AT’s] good intentions. There is nothing wrong with good intentions.”
Bambang added that AT’s father, Ibnu Hajar Tanjung, has approved of the plan with the hope that the marriage would absolve his son of his sins. AT has yet to formally ask PU’s family for her hand in marriage, as is customary in most Indonesian cultures.
Regardless of AT’s supposed good intentions, the minimum age for marriage for women in Indonesia is 19. Marriage shouldn’t erase his crime either, with AT facing up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
According to reports, AT was extremely abusive of his underage girlfriend when they were dating. PU’s mother, LF, said that her daughter was often physically abused by AT, who forced her to have sex with him even when she initially refused. The suspect and victim reportedly dated for about nine months.
LF eventually filed a report against AT in mid-April, though the latter reportedly kept pushing PU to withdraw it through WhatsApp messages while his family offered to pay for her medical bills. According to LF, PU contracted a sexually transmitted disease, which she reportedly became aware of following the rape. PU had to receive intensive medical treatment as a result, including a surgery to remove a lump in her genital area.
AT also allegedly offered up PU for prostitution through MiChat, a messaging app that has been associated with online sex work in Indonesia. He allegedly facilitated the illicit service from a room at a boarding house (kost), where PU was instructed to just remain inside and serve clients — which she said could reach up to four or five people a day.