Reports of children being raped and sexually abused are unfortunately not too rare in Indonesia, but the case of one girl, who was allegedly repeatedly violated by her own uncle over the course of four years, has been highlighted by activists who say the police only acted to investigate her case after being pressured, deepening the girl’s severe trauma.
The case concerns a 14-year-old girl, identified by her initials EL, who used to live in Palembang, South Sumatra. Her family and activists say she her 63-year-old uncle had raped her on multiple occasions since she was ten years old.
Gita Pragati, a volunteer who has worked to help EL, said the girl’s psychological state has gotten so bad she’s no longer going to school.
Linda, EL’s sister, says she did not know about the abuse until it had already been going on for years and when she found out she asked EL to come live with her in Jakarta.
Gita said EL’s family, represented by Linda, reported the case to South Sumatra Police Station on April 17. They also reported it to the Women and Children’s Services Unit (UPPA) of the National Police on May 18.
As if the situation wasn’t horrible enough, Gita said that the police have been slow to resolve her case and that they have made no significant progress in months.
According to Gita, a medical examination already determined that EL had suffered sexual violence and is still experiencing psychological trauma. Despite that, she says the police are still investigating EL and witnesses while the alleged perpetrator remains free.
Susiana Affandy from Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) said police only took action on EL’s case after getting pressure from her organizations. According to her, the South Sumatra police didn’t even want to handle the case at all because the victim had moved far from the crime scene.
“The South Sumatra police didn’t want to do the investigation in Jakarta because they claimed they didn’t have the budget, they only did it after getting some pressure from us. This sickens me, why would they only take on the case after being pressured?” she said.
Susiana also pointed out that violence against girls is often carried by those closest to them, as supported by data released by Komnas Perempuan (The National Commission on Women) in March this year. Their records showed that in a large percentage of cases, the perpetrators of sexual violence were the women’s own partners, biological fathers and uncles.