Indonesian police escort 12 of the 14 suspects for the brutal gang rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl after their trial in Curup, Rejang Lebong district, Bengkulu province, on May 4. Indonesian activists called for the government to urgently strengthen laws against sexual violence after the incident sparked outrage. (Photo by AFP)
An Indonesia bishops' conference official said the gang rape and murder of a junior high school student in Sumatra province early last month shows that the state and society have failed to protect women.
"It shows that we all have not been able to prevent sexual violence, fail to make this country a comfortable place for our women and children," said Notre Dame Sister Maria Resa of the bishop's secretariat of gender and women empowerment, referring to Yuyun, whose name has been released by her family, who was gang raped and murdered on April 3.
Yuyun, 14, from Kasie Kasubun village, was returning home from school, when 14 males — seven of them younger than 18 — stopped her, gang raped and then killed her. Her body was dumped into a remote area of a plantation, and was discovered three days later, bruised and beaten and with her hands tied.
The police have arrested 12 suspects, while two others remain at large.
"This case is a case of moral degradation, which undermines the various societal elements, especially the family," Sister Resa told ucanews.com May 5.
She called on the government to maximize prevention and safety efforts, including giving maximum punishment for the perpetrators.
In a statement issued on May 3, the National Commission on Violence against Women condemned the gang rape and murder of Yuyun, saying that it highlights the state's failure to protect its citizens, particularly women vulnerable to violence.
It also said that sexual violence continues to increase in Indonesia, with 6,499 cases last year compared to 4,457 cases in 2014. So far this year 3,166 cases of sexual violence, including 2,399 rapes, have been recorded.
The commission's deputy head Yuniyanti Chuzaifah told ucanews.com May 5 that every two hours, three women become victims of sexual violence.
"The case of Yuyun is proof that sexual violence is in an emergency situation, and the state must show a sense of urgency," she said. She also called on government, security forces and parliament to work together in creating a society that is safe for women.
"This outbreak of violence happens everywhere. There must be a serious effort to face these conditions," she said.
Boy Rafly Amar, Indonesian police spokesman, said police are working on the case, including hunting down the two suspects who remain at large.
"It's most probable that they will face multiple charges of beating, rape, torture that resulted in the death of the victim," Amar told ucanews.com.
The incident has sparked outrage in Indonesia, with protests held May outside the presidential palace in Jakarta
Responding to Yuyun's case, President Joko Widodo expressed condolences via Twitter, and ordered security forces to arrest and bring all perpetrators to justice.
"We all mourn Yuyun's tragic death. Catch and punish severely [the perpetrators]. Women and children must be protected from violence," he wrote.