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Jakarta Post

I'm worried law might not protect me, says UGM student

  • Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Wed, December 12, 2018   /   09:18 am
I'm worried law might not protect me, says UGM student Solidarity: Gadjah Mada University (UGM) students write names on a large piece of fabric to pressure university leaders to take action on sexual violence as part of a movement initiated by a group called #kitaagni (We Are Agni). Agni is the pseudonym of a student who was allegedly assaulted by a fellow student during a community service assignment in Maluku last year. (The Jakarta Post/Bambang Muryanto)

Agni, a pseudonym used by a female Gadjah Mada University (UGM) student who was allegedly raped by a fellow student last year, has reportedly refused to report her alleged rapist to the police.

She is worried that the law might not protect her.

“Agni wants the UGM to handle the case. This is the time for it to step up and make structural changes in dealing with sexual violence,” Selma Theofany, the spokesperson for #kitaAgni (WeAreAgni), said at a recent rally held at the university.

Husna Yuni Wulansari, a #kitaAgni volunteer, said Agni was surprised to learn that the university had reported the case to the police in mid-November without consulting her first.

Husna added that Agni was of the opinion that the legal proceedings would be counterproductive to what she sought — justice and maximum protection. 

On Nov. 5, the UGM’s student magazine, Balairung, published an investigative report based on Agni’s testimony. 

In it she alleged that a fellow student had sexually assaulted her during a community service assignment (KKN) in a Maluku village on June 30, 2017.

The alleged perpetrator, HS, has completed his undergraduate studies but his graduation was put on hold after the mainstream media picked up the story.

UGM criminal law expert Sri Wiyanti Eddyono said the structure and content of the law in Indonesia, especially when it comes to gender violence, remained biased in favour of perpetrators.

“Our criminal law still sees rape and sexual assault within the context of immorality, not as a form of crime against body and soul. This is a problem,” added Wiyanti who also chairs an ethics team set up to examine the Agni case.

She said rape culture was entrenched in the law culture, which only further aggravated the victim’s physical and mental suffering.

The UGM’s deputy rector overseeing cooperation and alumni, Paripurna P. Sugarda, said it did not consult with Agni before filing the case with the police, considering that it had been widely covered and publicized, adding that the university believed that the police would have eventually taken the initiative to investigate the case.

In Indonesia, rape cases are only investigated after the victim files a report with the police.

Paripurna said by filing a report, the UGM could provide legal assistance, adding that the police would now be obligated to act after it filed the report.

“We want to protect the students,” said Paripurna who is also a law expert.

Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH) director Yogi Zul Fadhli said a sexual abuse survivor might refuse a legal proceeding if she does not feel ready and comfortable with the process.

“The whole process has to prioritize and take into consideration the survivor’s interests,” he added.

This article was originally published in The Jakarta Post's print edition on Dec. 12, 2018, with the title "I’m worried law might not protect me, says UGM student".