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Indonesian Catholics seek justice in sex assault case

Activists call for legal protection and psychological support for the alleged victim of abuse at state body KPI

Indonesian Catholics seek justice in sex assault case

Catholics joined more than 200 groups and individuals in Indonesia in demanding justice for an alleged victim of sexual assault and bullying by employees of a state body.

The victim, identified as MS, wrote a statement claiming he experienced sexual assault and bullying by several employees not long after he joined the Jakarta-based Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) in 2011.

His statement, which went viral on social media last week, said he was harassed, beaten, insulted and bullied — without any retaliation — on multiple occasions until he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

He tried to report the incidents to the National Commission on Human Rights through an email in 2017, but the state body suggested he report the case to the police. In 2019 and 2020, he went to a police station to file a report but was told that the case should be resolved within the KPI.

“The incidents show a systematic crime against humanity. The KPI, as a state body, fails to work based on human rights principles,” activists said in a statement on Sept. 4.

They demanded legal protection and psychological support for the alleged victim from the KPI.

Perpetrators must be brought to court and given punishment with a deterrent effect

“We call on the KPI to form an independent team of investigation with the involvement of external parties … so that the whole process of investigation is carried out transparently by prioritizing the victim’s physical and psychological condition,” they said.

Among the groups of activists were the Catholic bishops’ Secretariat of Gender and Women Empowerment and the Union of Catholic University Students of the Republic of Indonesia.

Dominican Sister Natalia Sumarni said her group demanded justice and lamented that the alleged sexual assault and bullying did not get serious attention from authorities in the first place.

“The state must take a strict action against perpetrators. The victim must receive legal protection and psychological support,” she told UCA News on Sept. 6.

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Urging police to deal with the case fairly, she said: “Perpetrators must be brought to court and given punishment with a deterrent effect. We look forward to the results of the police investigation.”

MS, a father of a son, filed an official police report not long after his statement went viral on social media. He was accompanied by KPI commissioner Nuning Rodiyah.

Rodiyah said eight KPI employees accused of sexual assault and bullying had been relieved of their duties to help the authorities’ investigation.

Police have summoned several witnesses. As part of the investigation, MS underwent a psychological test on Sept. 6.

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