Budi Sutrisno, Jakarta – The Cengkareng Police in West Jakarta have arrested a man for allegedly abusing a maid working at his house for the past nine years and not paying her a single penny.
"They have been living under the same roof for nine years. During that period of time, Ferddy Burhan allegedly often tortured the victim," Cengkareng Police crime unit head Adj. Comr. Antonius told kompas.com on Tuesday.
The alleged victim, identified only as ABA, told police that besides ill-treatment at the hands of Ferddy, she had never been paid any money during her nine years of work but only given food to eat and a space to sleep, according to Antonius.
ABA revealed the alleged maltreatment on Monday, after she had reportedly been tortured for the last time. That day, Antonius said, Ferddy had just arrived home from out-of-town work.
He was apparently annoyed at seeing ABA working slowly. Angry after hearing her excuse, he then allegedly beat ABA with a PVC pipe and a broom, causing bruises to her body.
Feeling cornered and unable to resist, ABA escaped to the next door neighbor's house, Antonius added.
After taking shelter in a neighbor's house, the victim decided to finally reveal almost a decade of alleged abuse and filed a report with the Cengkareng Police.
"Seeing the victim injured, members of the police service center took her to the Cengkareng regional general hospital for a check-up and medical treatment," Antonius said.
The medical examination showed that the victim had suffered numerous injuries, including on the forehead and the back of the head, as well as bruises on both hands.
Upon learning about the incident, police arrested Ferddy and brought him to the Cengkareng Police for questioning.
Ferddy was charged under Article 44 Paragraph 1 of the 2004 Law on the elimination of domestic violence. If found guilty, he faces up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of Rp 15 million (US$1,068).
The National Network for Domestic Workers Advocacy (Jala PRT) has recorded 216 cases of domestic violence against household assistants in Greater Jakarta in 2018, about the same number as recorded in the previous year.
"The violence falls in different categories, namely psychological, physical, sexual and economic violence," Jala PRT's organizing and capacity building staff member Ari Ujianto told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
Ari added that the most often neglected violence was psychological violence in the form of insults, scolding and demeaning, while the most reported violence was economic violence, such as being underpaid or working excessive hours.
He added that Jala PRT assisted domestic workers falling victim to abuse in various ways, ranging from negotiations with employers to salary payments and subpoena accompaniment by lawyers provided by the network.
"In criminal cases, we assist the victims in court if requested, ask for additional assistance from some witness and victim protection agencies and help to spread the news and campaigns to urge the authorities to properly handle the cases," said Ari.
For this latest case, Ari said, Jala planned to jointly handle it with the Legal Aid Foundation of Indonesian Women's Association for Justice (LBH APIK) and the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta).
Ari added that such violence would continue to occur if there were no laws protecting domestic workers.
"Cases like these are difficult to monitor unless the victims file reports. Therefore, it is essential to have a law that provides a protection mechanism for domestic workers whose work is hard to observe from outside the house," said Ari. (syk)