The National Commission on Violence Against Women, or Komnas Perempuan, on Wednesday (15/11) stressed that the government must conclude negotiations on the Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill to protect sexual assault victims in the wake of a recent incident in Tangerang, Banten.
In a statement, Komnas Perempuan condemned the assault against a couple accused of having premarital sex in Tangerang’s Sukamulya village.
“Without evidence that is based on a legal process, the public has no right to inflict punishment, persecute and violate the right to freedom that is guaranteed by the Constitution,” Komnas Perempuan said.
On Nov. 11, a group of men reportedly physically and sexually assaulted a couple and accused them of having premarital sex.
The group went on to publicly shame the couple and paraded them naked through the village’s streets. A video of the incident has since gone viral on social media, prompting condemnation from rights groups and individual users.
Komnas Perempuan said the mob assault was “sexual torture” and an “inhumane punishment.”
“This vigilante act has personally affected the victims’ integrity and dignity, as well as their family’s, and will have a long-term impact on the victims’ future,” the statement said.
Tangerang district police are conducting an investigation into the case and have so far arrested four people.
Similar cases of “vigilantes” using moral excuses to justify sexual assault against women, according to the organization, have also occurred in Aceh, Sragen (Central Java) and Riau.
Komnas Perempuan urged the government to conclude negotiations on the Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill to give an instrument of protection for victims and act as a deterrent for perpetrators.
They also demanded members of the public to stop circulation of the video and for the media to stop exposing the female victim, particularly to support the victim’s recovery from the incident.
The commission also called on religious leaders and education institutions to “pay serious attention to the increasing culture of violence in society” to prevent more cases of “moral vigilantes” from occurring.
Separately, Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa reportedly expressed sorrow, saying that such actions are not correct in a country based on law.