Archipelago

In Solo, a call to fire
officials who abuse women

Activists rallied in Surakarta, Central Java, on Thursday, calling on the Home Ministry to remove regional government officials who abuse women.

The protesters brought with them pillow cases bearing 1,001 signatures, chosen to symbolize that officials’ lives at home should be subject to public scrutiny, as they are supposed to set examples for the community.

“The Home Minister has to act firmly, according to the prevailing laws,” women’s rights activist Maria Suci Aningsih said.

Maria said that cases where elected regional officials had abused or assaulted women were handled slowly by police and the central government.

She cited as example the case of Garut Regent Aceng Fikri, who has been grilled by police after his 4-day unregistered marriage to and SMS divorce from a 17-year-old girl.

Aceng has not been removed from office, despite Supreme Court approval of a Garut Legislative Council petition to remove him.

The protest follows a similar event held last week in Magelang, Central Java, against Magelang Deputy Mayor Joko Prasetyo for allegedly assaulting his wife, Siti Rubaidah.

“The case is already in the P21 dossier stage. We urge the police to arrest Joko and uphold Article 10 of Law No. 13/2006 on witness protection,” one of Siti’s lawyers, Dian Sasmita, said.

Completion of a P21 dossier is the final step in a police investigation. It must be submitted to prosecutor to issue an indictment and begin trial proceedings.

Dian said that the deputy mayor’s wife was entitled to witness protection after Joko, in what she described as retaliation, filed a police report against Siti for defamation.

According to Dian, Siti has been prevented from seeing her children, as she has been living separately from her family for the last two months.

“Hindering a mother from seeing her own children is already a form of violence, not to mention the other threats. This cannot be just ignored. As a victim-cum-witness, Siti Rubaidah should not have been reported back for her testimony,” Dian said.

Siti’s lawyers have petitioned the Magelang Police to drop Joko’s complaint against his wife and to help Siti see her children.

According to the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) there were 113,878 cases of domestic violence in Indonesia in 2011, the last year for which statistics were available. There were 57 cases of domestic violence reported in Surakarta in the first half of 2012.

Separately, the Integrated Service Center for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection (P2TP2A) in Mutiara Klaten, Central Java, reported 67 cases of violence against women and 45 cases of violence against children in the region in 2012.

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