A police officer in East Java has been dismissed from the force and charged with forcing abortion on an ex-girlfriend, in a case that has enraged Indonesians over the weekend.
The suicide that killed a 23-year-old university student, Novia Widyasari Rahayu, has captured nationwide attention, after details emerged that she drank poison because she was raped and forced to undergo abortion twice by her boyfriend. Her body was found next to her father’s grave in Mojokerto regency last Thursday.
It was soon revealed that the partner in question is Randy Bagus Hari Sasongko, who previously served at Pasuruan Precinct and has now been detained by the East Java Police. Authorities said Randy and Novia had dated since 2019 and that the latter got pregnant twice in March 2020 and August 2021. Both times, she was reportedly forced to abort her pregnancies.
A Twitter user claiming to be one of Novia’s close friends laid out some details about the disturbing relationship, including how Randy had taken Novia to a lodging and forced her to down a drug that later made her drowsy. Four months after that incident, Novia realized she was pregnant and went to Randy about the matter, only to be told repeatedly to abort her pregnancy.
Novia’s ordeal was compounded with the coercion coming from Randy’s family, and she was later forced to take pills that eventually caused her to lose her baby. When she later told her family about the pregnancy and forced abortion, she was met with anger by her uncles who accused her of “bringing shame into their family” and even threatened to kill the young woman.
Novia sadly took her own life by drinking poison, following bouts of depression and immense pressure from the people around her.
The case unsurprisingly angered Indonesian netizens over the weekend, which led to public condemnation of Randy and #SaveNoviaWidyasari trending on platforms like Twitter, as well as discussions surrounding the discouraging way victims of sexual violence are often treated in Indonesia.
Randy has been dishonorably dismissed from the force following an internal police code of ethics trial and charged with forced abortion under Indonesia’s Criminal Code (KUHP), which could see him imprisoned for a maximum of 5.5 years. An investigation into the case is still ongoing, with police questioning a number of witnesses — including her mother and uncles.
Indonesia currently does not have a dedicated government-run suicide prevention hotline, but if you or anyone you know is suffering from depression and/or contemplating suicide, you can get more information and resources from several local NGOs dealing with mental health and suicide prevention, such as intothelightid.org.