The family of a nine-year-old girl allegedly raped by a farmer in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara province have stormed a police station to demand action be taken against him. They said police failure to arrest the alleged offender was baffling because there was clear evidence against the man. About 30 members of the girl's family from Pong Lale, a village in Manggarai district on Catholic-majority Flores Island, rushed into the station on Dec. 3 to demand police arrest the farmer. They said police have done nothing since a complaint against the farmer, who is also the
caretaker of Pong Lale mission station’s church, was lodged on Nov. 7 "We are angry at and don’t understand their slow response," said Vempi Kantur, the victim's father.
He admitted police had questioned the alleged abuser and several witnesses but said no progress had been made despite his daughter identifying her attacker. The daughter told her parents that she had been abused since early October. The results of a hospital medical examination confirmed she had been sexually attacked before the crime was reported to Manggarai district police, Kantur said. He said the farmer, a married man with three children, lured his daughter by giving candy and money. He said she was even attacked in the church’s sacristy. "He took her to the church. Now she does not want to go there anymore because of the trauma. She used to like to go there,” he said. The police could not be reached for comment. However, Valens Dulmin, the victim's lawyer, said police had said that no arrests had been made because witnesses had changed their statements. "Police need to question the witnesses further as a result," he said. Dulmin said there was strong suspicion pressure had been put on witnesses. Sister Maria Yosephina Pahlawati, an activist nun fighting for women's and children’s rights in West Flores, said more pressure needs to be applied on the authorities for this case to be acted on properly. "From my experience, if there is no strong pressure put on [police], whether from families, the mass media or from advocacy groups, police tend to try and settle it without enforcing the law,” she told ucanews. “Police often do not really understand the horrors of sexual abuse.” The nun said the arrest and detention of the alleged perpetrator was the most immediate and urgent step. "I think the evidence from the hospital examination and that he has been identified by the victim is enough to ensure his detention," she said.
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