The Jakarta Post
Wonogiri Regent Joko “Jekek” Sutopo has demanded a proper criminal investigation after six alleged rapists reportedly resolved their offense through compensating their victim with Rp 7.5 million (US$533.80) each.
The 16-year-old victim became pregnant after the attack. The case, however, went under the radar as the village chief mediated the case instead of reporting it to the police.
“Whatever the reason is, this is unjust. It’s a criminal case, we cannot solve it through mediation only. Compensating the victim is allowed, but we still have to process this matter legally,” Jekek said on Monday.
The girl was raped separately by the six perpetrators sometime in or around May. The alleged perpetrators, who were identified as her neighbors, are aged between 39 and 60 years old. Nguntoronadi district head Sriyono said that the local youth organization initiated the mediation.
“The village chief did not report it to the police and mediated the situation among the local community, the victim and the perpetrators instead, until they agreed that each alleged rapist pay compensation of Rp 7.5 million in cash to the victim in September,” he said.
According to Sriyono, the mediation was initiated to prevent the situation from escalating further.
The girl’s mother said that she had sent her daughter to her relative’s house in Pacitan, East Java, because she could not stay with her daughter, who often locked herself in her room as a result of the trauma.
“I’m worried that her mental condition will deteriorate over time and lead her to commit suicide. Thankfully, our relatives in Pacitan are willing to take care of her,” she said.
The mother said that her daughter was a first year student at a school located 10 kilometers from her house. She used to live with her grandmother and went home to her house in Ngadiroyo village once every two weeks.
“I don’t have the money to pay for my daughter’s school tuition because I don’t have a stable income. Sometimes I [earn money] from cleaning the store next to my house, washing my neighbors’ clothes, and money from the Family Hope Program,” she said.
She also revealed that she was unaware about what happened until her daughter came out from the bathroom while hiding her body with a towel. When asked about what had happened, she recalled that her daughter became very upset.
“What makes me sad is that there was a rumor that said my daughter was the one who offered herself to the perpetrators. She admits that she received some money from the perpetrators, but she did not offer herself,” the mother said.
Ngadiroyo village chief Mulyono claimed that he had already tried to persuade the girl and her family to report the case to the police. However, he claimed the family were the ones who refused to file a report.
“I ended up facilitating the mediation. I had no intention of covering up this case,” Mulyono said. He also added that he initially asked each perpetrator to compensate the victim with Rp 50 million. However, the amount kept decreasing in every negotiation until they reached an agreement to compensate the victim with Rp 7.5 million each.
Wonogiri Police have named a 39-year-old-man a suspect. He allegedly told the police that he forced the victim to have sex with him and give her some money after. He will be charged under Article 81 of the 2016 Child Protection Law. (dpk)