Ristu Hanafi, Sleman – A protest by an alliance of student organisations calling themselves the Solidarity Action Alliance Against Sexual Violence at the Gajah Mada University (UGM) in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta on November 22 almost ended in chaos.
The action began near the Faculty of Social and Political Science (Fisipol) building with a march towards the Grha Sabha Pramana signature building. The demonstrators however were blocked by a campus security.
The action then shifted to the east side of the rectorate building where the demonstrators gave speeches. They demanded that a perpetrator of sexual violence [with the initials HS] against a UGM student be immediately “dropped-out” (DO) or expelled from the university.
When the demonstrators tried to enter the building in order to meet with the UGM rector, security personnel blocked them and refused give permission for them to enter. As a result an argument broke out between students and security personnel although the situation eventually calmed down.
“We are demanding that the perpetrator of the sexual violence be expelled today, and if the campus [authorities] are unable to take firm action, we will continue holding protests demanding this of the campus [authorities]”, shouted one of the protesters during a speech on Thursday November 22.
The demonstrators brought a number of posters with messages such as “Drop Out HS, Drop Out Rapists!”, “Shame On You UGM”, “Acknowledge that Sexual Violence = A Gross Rights Violation”, “Expel Perpetrators of Sexual Violence from UGM”, “UGM Sexual Violence Emergency” and “Immediately Sack EH and DO HS!”.
Alliance spokesperson Dinda Aurelia said that the action was not just limited to highlight the alleged rape of an UGM student while she was undergoing student community placement program (KKN) at Seram Island in Maluku, but also highlighting an UGM lecturer with the initials EH who was accused of committing sexual harassment several years ago.
“EH has been formally been made inactive, but is still carrying out activities related to academic affairs. We have to ask how serious is the UGM [campus administration] in resolving cases of sexual harassment”.
“And in the case of Agni (a pseudonym for the UGM student who was allegedly raped during the KKN), we’re not persecuting the perpetrator, never. But we are asking that the perpetrator be expelled from campus because campus is an educational institution. We side with the survivor, don’t place survivors in a position that is equivalent to perpetrators of sexual violence”, she asserted.
In addition to this, the alliance is calling on the UGM administration to draft clear regulations on the handling of sexual violence cases on campus. (mbr/mbr)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was Demo Mahasiswa UGM Tuntut Pelaku Pencabulan di-DO Nyaris Ricuh.]