House urged to expedite debate of bill on sexual violence

Cirebon, W Java (ANTARA News) - The Peoples Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Zulkifli Hasan urged the House of Representatives (DPR) to accelerate deliberations of the bill on sexual violence in response to the high rate of sexual assaults in the country.

"We hope the DPR will speed up debates of the bill on sexual violence because cases of sexual violence are increasingly dangerous," Zulkifli said during his tour of Cirebon, Friday.

Heavy punishment for those responsible for sexual violence is needed and for that the DPR has to expedite deliberations of the draft law, according to the MPR speaker.

He also asked the House to reconsider the demand of the public for emasculation of punishment for a rapist. "Castration as a punishment can be imposed. We can be angry (with a rape incident), but we need to remain rational. We can even impose a punishment heavier (than castration)," he said.

His side also encouraged the PAN faction in the House to lead the acceleration of the deliberations of the bill on sexual violence, Zulkifli, who is also the general chairman of the National Mandate Party (PAN) said.

The bill should be finalized soon because cases of sexual violence were cause for serious concern, he said. "We encourage the PAN faction to accelerate the deliberation of the bill," he added.

Meanwhile, Womens Empowerment and Child Protection Minister Yohana Yembise has said that Indonesia is mourning the loss of 14-year-old Yuyun who died after being raped by 14 teenagers in Rejanglebong District, Bengkulu Province.

"Indonesia is mourning. This case has shocked the state. I think such a case has happened for the first time in Indonesia," Minister Yembise stated while visiting the family of Yuyun, some 117 kilometers from Bengkulu City, Thursday.

The minister was greeted by Yuyuns parents and brothers.

Accompanied by Bengkulu Governor Ridwan Mukti, the minister offered assistance and expressed her deepest condolences to the family of the eighth grader.

She had received the news of the sexual crime from her son who studies in Britain, Yembise said.

Of the 14 rapists, two are still at large, while 12 have been detained, including seven under 18 years of age or considered juvenile under the Indonesian law, so they cannot be jailed for life but can only be awarded a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

Those above 18 years of age could face a maximum punishment of life sentence for a gang rape that claimed the victims life.

The minister reminded parents to always protect their children, particularly females.

"After returning from here, I will launch a national movement for men to protect women and children, as the perpetrators of violence against women and children are mostly males," she emphasized.

The seven juvenile suspects are identified by the initials D alias J (17), A (17), FS (17), and S (17), in addition to DI (17), EG (16), and S (16). The minister affirmed that their parents could also be punished if it is proved that they were concealing their childrens crimes.

The five other arrested suspects are TW (19), Sk (19), Bb (20), Fs (19), and Zl (23).

There is a public outcry across the country, demanding the death penalty for the perpetrators.(*)