Protest over university rape case says ‘there is no peace without justice’

Arah Juang – February 21, 2019
UGM protest over unresolved rape case – February 20, 2019 (Arah Juang)
UGM protest over unresolved rape case – February 20, 2019 (Arah Juang)

On February 20 the International Women’s Day Joint Committee alliance held an action at the Gajah Mada University (UGM) in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta. The action was launched in response to developments in a case of sexual violence against a female UGM student known as Agni by fellow student HS in 2017.

As has been reported in the mass media, UGM Rector Panut Mulyono announced unilaterally that the sexual violence case has been resolved after a meeting was held between the perpetrator and the victim.

It was for this reason that the action was held. This time round the action was organised to coincide with a graduation ceremony at the Graha Sabha Pramana building.

The action was joined by scores of people from various different organisations. The protesters could be seen enthusiastically putting up posters and handing out alliance leaflets.

The protest was held under the theme, “There is No Peace, Without Justice for Survivors: Drop Out HS!”. Two banners were used by the protesters, one of them took up the main theme of the action while the second read, “Acknowledge Sexual Violence = A Gross Violations, Expel the Perpetrator of Sexual Violence from UGM”.

During the action the protesters handed out hundreds of leaflets with a written statement by the alliance on the case. Several people asked about developments in the case while many others also refused to accept the leaflets even those the protesters tried to explain what they were about.

The protesters attempted to provide information on the case and an understanding of why it is not yet resolved and how the campus administration has tried to protect the perpetrator. In concert with the action theme, the protesters attempted to convey the message that there can be no peace without justice for the survivor.

Several parents of students and other people attending the graduation ceremony took the initiative to ask about the case. The Campus Security and Order Unit (SKKK) meanwhile to approached the protesters and took pictures of them as well as trying to get personal information on the demonstrators.

Two plain clothed police officers also appeared and tried to take pictures of the action. They were known because earlier they were also seen blocking a protest action by the Fight Sexual Violence alliance at UGM on November 22 last year.

A bigger movement however is still needed to fight sexual violence on campus. Not just leaving it up to students or the UGM community, but broader and bigger participation to unite the forces of the oppressed people to take up the main demand: “Drop Out HS! Or Bring Down Panut”. (ra)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Aksi Anti Kekerasan Seksual di Wisuda UGM: Tidak Ada Perdamaian, Tanpa Keadilan Bagi Penyintas, DO HS atau Turunkan Panut!”.]