Go-Massage therapist allegedly raped while on the job, women’s commission criticizes Go-Jek for lack of oversight

Illustration. Photo: Pixabay
Illustration. Photo: Pixabay

A masseuse working for Go-Massage — one of the many on-call services provided by ride-hailing app Go-Jek — was allegedly raped by a client in the West Java capital of Bandung recently in a case that has raised questions about the safety of Go-Jek’s partner therapists while they’re on the job.

According to reports, on March 5, a Go-Massage therapist, identified by her initial L, was allegedly raped by her customer, a young man who ordered a massage through the app at his home in Sukasari district. L reported the incident to the police that same day and underwent a forensic examination with the police the next day.

L has demanded that her alleged assailant be charged with rape under Article 286 of the KUHP (Criminal Code), which could see him be jailed for up to 12 years if convicted. The West Java police say they are still questioning witnesses related to the case.

But the possibility of there being witnesses in this case are slim, considering that Go-Massage therapists often work in the privacy of their customers’ homes. That being considered, the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) has criticized Go-Jek for failing to provide adequate protection for its partner therapists while they’re on duty.

“Go-Jek should have foreseen the risks [that masseuses] could face when they go to customers’ houses,” Komnas Perempuan Commissioner Mariana Imanudding told Tirto yesterday.

Mariana added that Go-Jek should better supervise their partner therapists due to the risks involved by the app’s massage service arrangements.

“In hotels, for example, it’s the guests that [go to a massage parlor] so their safety is supervised,” she said.

Dayu Dara, head of Go-Jek’s Go-Life department, which provides the Go-Massage service, pledged to give legal support to the alleged victim as well as giving her any medical and/or psychological help she may need.

“We are committed to ensure that the process of law goes in accordance to procedures and is fair,” she wrote in a statement.

The Association of Indonesian Women for Justice (LBH Apik) also warned that Go-Jek must take this case seriously and not resort to an out-of-court settlement or mediation between alleged rapist and victim, as happened when ride-hailing app Grab mediated between a customer and a driver after the former reported the latter for forcibly kissing her.

On-call massage is far from a Go-Jek exclusive service in Indonesia, as many therapists offering traditional massage often go door-to-door in search of clients. There have been several sexual harassment cases in the past involving freelance masseuses, such as one from April 2018 in which a male therapist was accused of attempting to rape his female customer in Central Kalimantan.

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