01/15/2013, 00.00
INDONESIA

Ordinary Indonesians against judges and politicians who "justify" sexual violence

Mathias Hariyadi
An official from Sharia-ruled Aceh province blames "sexy women" for rape. A judge claims that both rapist and victim "enjoy" the act, hence the death penalty is inappropriate. Such views, which follow the death of an 11-year-old girl who was gang-raped, have outraged women.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Statements by politicians, judges and high ranking government officials on the responsibility of women in their own rape are causing outrage among ordinary Indonesians. A judge, for example, joked about sexual violence before a parliamentary committee. In Indonesia's only Sharia-ruled province, an official said that women wearing "sexy outfits" are "asking for it", an especially ill-timed statement made not long after an 11-year-old girl died in Jakarta after being gang-raped, in a case not unlike that of the 23-year-old Indian woman whose story moved the world.

In a recent statement, Ramli Mansur, head of the North Aceh Regency, said that "sexy women" are "easily subject to rape" because their clothing is "un-Islamic". In his view, such women "are asking for rape, including gang-rape" because of their "good looks".

In an attempt to defuse the controversy, the Indonesian government said the official's words were misconstrued, that in fact, he only wanted to warn women to dress more in line with Islamic precepts, which are the law in Aceh.

Judge Daming Sunusi, speaking before a parliamentary committee charged with appointing new Supreme Court justices, said that since "rapists and their victims enjoy the sex", the death penalty "should not be imposed on the former."

Even more disturbing than the judge's remarks was the reaction of the committee members. Instead of reprimanding the former for his lack of sensitivity and the danger his words carry, they simply laughed at his "joke".

This was especially thoughtless coing a few days after the death of an 11-year-old girl who was gang-raped by a group of thugs in broad daylight in Jakarta.

Ordinary Indonesians and human rights groups reacted quickly in online forums, blogs and other Internet sites.

"This is too much. The judge should apologise to the Indonesian people," a Jakartan wrote.

Others have gone further, expressing doubts about his "moral integrity" and his ability to perform his functions fairly and impartially.

The indifference and shallowness with which the issue is addressed has also been a cause of indignation.

In the end, it is victims who have to face a bleak future, suffering from the traumatic consequences of their mental and physical experiences.

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