Woman working for gov’t agency says boss sexually harassed and exploited her, gets fired after filing complaint

Photo illustration.
Photo illustration.

A woman going by the pseudonym Dina has become the latest example of sexual harassment victims facing great injustice in their quest to seek justice against their tormentors.

Dina was, until recently, a staff member at the Workers Social Security Agency (BPJS Keteganakerjaan) Supervisory Board. She was fired on Dec 5 after filing a sexual harassment complaint against her boss — a board member.

In an interview with Tirto published today, in July 2016, Dina said her boss — for whom she worked as a secretary — came on to her and asked if he could kiss her. Things escalated from there, with Dina claiming that her boss forced her to have sex with him on numerous occasions.

“There was psychological abuse whenever I refused him and escaped his sexual advances, like him making the atmosphere at work uncomfortable, screaming at me over bad things I supposedly did,” Dina told Tirto.

On November 28, Dina said she filed a complaint to the chairman of the Supervisory Board. However, two days later, she received a notice for the termination of her employment, which said that her last day on the job was going to be Dec 5.

“[The notice] completely disregarded the true crime, which is the sexual harassment committed by the board member,” she said.

Since then, Dina has sought assistance from legal aid groups and feminist groups, some of whom have reported the case all the way up to President Joko Widodo. The president directly appointed the members of the BPJS Ketenagakerjaan Supervisory Board, including the alleged perpetrator. The police have also reportedly been notified.

BPJS Ketenagakerjaan has not yet commented on the allegations.

Last month, the Supreme Court caused a great deal of public outrage in Indonesia for sentencing a teacher named Baiq Nuril to six months in prison for recording audio of her boss — the school principal — sexually harassing her, whereas he has so far not faced criminal charges. The court argued that her act constituted defamation against the principal, “shaming” his reputation and honor in the eyes of his family.

Many have come out in support of Baiq Nuril, including President Jokowi, who promised to look into the possibility of pardoning her should her efforts at overturning her sentence fail.

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