Women’s rights activists in Aceh have urged the chief of police in Simeulue district to show more seriousness in addressing a case in which three policemen allegedly drugged and raped a 19-year-old woman.
Khairani Arifin, chairwoman of the women’s rights group Syura Ureung Inong Aceh, said on Thursday that Simeulue Police Chief Adj Sr-Comr Parluatan Siregar’s repeated denials that the incident on Jan. 17 constituted rape showed that he was trying to cover for his subordinates.
“The investigators and public prosecutors should have been more scrupulous in finding the elements of force in the rape case, especially since the victim was previously forced to take methamphetamine,” Khairani told the Jakarta Globe.
“As a law enforcer, the district police chief should have issued a statement based on legal facts. In his capacity as the Simeulue police chief, he should have taken more responsibility in guiding his subordinates and not done the opposite, which is defending them for their wrongdoing.”
In a previous interview with the Globe on Tuesday, Parluatan denied the claim by the victim’s family that one of the officers had raped her.
“After an investigation, the three officers admitted to violating this girl and paying her Rp 200,000 [$21] for the enjoyment,” he said.
“So it wasn’t a rape. If she claims she was really raped by the officer, why didn’t she get a medical checkup done when she was in the hospital?”
He confirmed that the three officers had been placed in custody, not for the alleged sexual violence but for using meth.
“Rape involves violence and threats, but there was none of that in this case. There were no bruises on her body and no injuries to her genitals.”
However, Khairani said that based on information that she obtained, the police had only requested a medical examination of the victim on Tuesday, five days after the alleged rape.
“The examination itself was conducted on Wednesday. So how could the district police chief make a conclusion that no signs of rape were found when doctors had not even conducted the examination?
“The Simeulue police chief doesn’t seem to understand the victim’s helpless position when the rape occurred, especially since she was under the influence of meth,” Khairani added.
She said all rape cases must be examined by the police, even if the victim did not file a report, because rapists often claim that the sex was consensual.
“This frees the perpetrators from all charges, while instances of rape continue and the victims don’t get any justice,” she said.
Khairani said that volunteers from Syura Ureung Inong Aceh had met with the victim’s family on Thursday to offer assistance and advocacy throughout the legal process.