The Jakarta Post
A K-Pop concert should have been a dream come true for fans of popular group EXO, but it turned sour, with many concert-goers ' largely women and girls in their teens, 20s and early 30s ' allegedly harassed during exaggerated security procedures.
The concert, held on Saturday at the Indonesia Convention Exhibition (ICE) in Tangerang, Banten, was the group's second show in Jakarta.
'When I went through the security checkpoint, I was shocked, because the officer touched my breasts and pulled up my bra,' 22-year-old Alia told The Jakarta Post.
While the officer in question was female, Alia was nonetheless outraged at such treatment, which was meted out in front of other, male security officers.
'Why did they have to do that?' she asked.
A friend of hers who vocally objected to the intrusive check was reprimanded by officers.
'She cried out when the security officer touched her crotch. The officer told my friend not to overreact, as she was not being checked by a male officer,' Alia said.
Soon after the concert ended, many fans took to social media to vent their anger at promoter Mecimapro, which had handled several previous K-pop gigs in Jakarta.
Mecimapro representative Tike Priatnakusumah, 38, claimed that the Tangerang Police had asked the promoter to conduct thorough body checks in response to rumors of possible bombing attacks in the environs of the venue.
Tangerang has seen several bomb threats and incidents in the last few years, the most recent incident taking place in October last year when a low-level explosion rocked Mall Alam Sutera. It was the second bomb incident at that mall that year; on Jan. 16, a bomb-like object was found at a mall in Gading Serpong.
'Checks are carried out for the security and comfort of the audience. However we understand certain undesirable incidents may have taken place. This is what we are currently trying to find out and resolve,' Tike told the Post, adding that the promoter was soliciting witness statements.
'To my knowledge, security officers were instructed to act professionally. The security team is not part of our firm ' it's outsourced. This wasn't our first time working together and we have never experienced such complaints before,' she said.
The comedian and presenter added that at previous concerts, audience members had attempted to smuggle in under their clothes forbidden video recorders.
Rape-survivor support group Lentera Indonesia founder Wulan Danoekoesoemo said that any behavior that upset one party could be classified as harassment, especially when it involved the sexual organs.
'Each individual reserves full rights over his or her body. If they don't want their bodies to be touched, the security officers should respect that decision,' she said.
The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) also criticized the management and urged the victims to take legal action.
'[Such checks are] clearly exaggerated and unjustifiable. The organizers must get the audience's consent before carrying out body checks,' KPAI commissioner Rita Pranawati said.
'The danger is that it could create trauma and hamper the psychological development of the victims,' said Rita.
With complaints from audience members and their families flooding social media, Rita said that reporting the case to the police was the best way to avoid the future occurrence of comparable incidents.
One well-known artist whose daughter suffered mistreatment, Titarubi, is planning to take legal action against the promoter, consulting with the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) and hiring a lawyer.
'What kind of security measure allows [officers] to touch the sexual organs?' Titarubi asked, adding that by taking legal action, she hoped to educate the public and prevent the reoccurrence of similar incidents. (fac)
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