Indonesian activists called for the government to urgently strengthen laws against sexual violence after the brutal gang-rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl sparked outrage.
The teenager was on her way home from school in a small village on the main western island of Sumatra when she was allegedly raped by a drunk gang of men and boys.
Her battered body was found three days later in woods, tied up and naked, according to local media reports. There are allegedly 14 perpetrators, and 12 have been arrested so far.
The crime took place in early April but anger has only grown in recent days as reports of the incident went viral on social media.
President Joko Widodo tweeted, “We all mourn for this tragic loss… Girls and children need to be protected from violence.”
Sexual violence against women is rampant in Indonesia, with 35 cases reported every day, according to the national commission.
Masruchah, a member of government backed rights group, National Commission on Violence Against Women, called for MPs to enact a bill to strengthen laws against sexual violence that has been before parliament for some time.
“This is very urgent,” said Masruchah.”It is clear this cannot be tolerated.”
A statement from a coalition of NGOs also called on the Parliament to fast track the “Elimination of Sexual Violence” bill, which gives better protection to rape victims and also makes a host of other acts criminal offences.
Rape is currently illegal in Indonesia but under legislation related broadly to abuse, and carries a maximum jail sentence of 14 years.
Activists hope that with a more specific law against sexual violence it will be easier to convict sex offenders and sentences will be longer. The law is still in the draft stage and details are being worked out.