Jakarta – The recent rape of a disabled woman in Lampung in which her father and two brothers have been implicated has highlighted the fact that women are often not safe even in their own homes.
Tanggamus Police in Lampung are investigating a case in which a father and his two sons have been charged with raping their 18-year-old daughter and sister, respectively, over a one-year period. The police said the woman seemed to be mentally disabled.
Tanggamus Police have arrested the father, aged 44, and the two brothers, a 23-year-old man and a 15-year-old boy. The woman's mother died a few years ago.
When interrogated, the father reportedly confessed to raping his daughter on five separate occasions, while her older brother and younger brother respectively confessed to raping her 120 and 40 times.
The police said the younger brother had also admitted to having sex with a goat and a cow.
Last week in Pelalawan, Riau, a woman allegedly killed her husband by cutting his throat while he slept. She reportedly said she had killed her husband because he had molested their daughter.
Mariana Amiruddin from the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) said the need to assert dominance usually motivated such rape cases.
"It's all about dominating the closest and the most helpless individual, which is usually the daughter of the family," Mariana told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
She said the main obstruction to revealing such cases was the victims' and their family members' reluctance to report them for fear of ruining the family's reputation. However, Mariana said the public was becoming more aware of the problem as more cases were being reported.
Komnas Perempuan reported last year that throughout 2017, it had received 1,210 reports on sexual violence at the hands of victims' own family members – such as uncles, fathers, brothers and cousins – while in 2016, it had received 1,265 reports. Of the 1,210 in 2017, 425 cases implicated fathers.
Similarly, the commission recorded 38 cases involving the sexual abuse of people with disabilities in 2017, 57 cases in 2016 and 28 cases in 2015.
The deputy head of the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI), Rita Pranawati, said sexual violence involving family members was all the more devastating because fathers and brothers were supposed to protect the females of the family, not sexually assault them.
She expressed hope that the father in the latest case was given severe punishment by the court.
"It will be difficult for the child to overcome the trauma of sexual violence perpetrated by her father and brothers," she said as quoted by Antara news agency.
Mariana of Komnas Perempuan said current laws were not enough to protect the victim. She pushed for the endorsement of a bill on sexual violence against women.
She said the Criminal Code and the law on domestic violence only emphasized the criminal punishment while leaving victims scarred for life and the culprits imprisoned without any rehabilitation.
The sexual violence bill, she said, would fill the gap. "Dialogue is needed to make the public understand that rape [involving family members] is not that simple [...] Therefore, we have to solve the problem with a humanitarian and sociological [approach] through the bill," Mariana said.
The women's and children's protection division head at the Tanggamus Police, Second Insp. Primadona Laila, said the father had taken advantage of his daughter's vulnerability. He raped her because she was helpless, she said.
"And the motive of the two other suspects comes from frequent watching of pornographic videos on their cell phones. The [urge] to rape the victim started from that," Primadona added.
According to the police report, a neighbor who is a local volunteer for a child protection task force first became suspicious of the family after noticing the victim's drastic weight loss. The neighbor, Tarseno, then reported his suspicions to the police.
The three suspects have been charged under the 2016 law on child protection, which carries a maximum prison term of 15 years. Primadona, however, said the court could impose a heavier punishment as the rape was allegedly by family members.
The victim is currently being housed at a Lampung Social Affairs Agency safe house. "The victim who was raped by her father, older brother and younger brother, and who is a mentally disabled woman, is being cared for by our social workers," agency head Sumarju Saeni was quoted as saying by Antara news agency on Monday.
A team of psychologists has also been assigned to counsel the woman. (mai)