Comments that Reap Violence
A female middle high school student in Pontianak was tortured by female high school students, forcing her to be hospitalized and suffer from a severe trauma. The police seem to have been slow to act.
Visitoris were coming one after another to see a 14-year-old girl lying in bed in a third-floor room of ProMedika Hospital, South Pontianak, West Kalimantan, on Wednesday, April 10. Among the guests visiting her were Ifan “Seventeen” and YouTubers Atta Halilintar and Ria Ricis. For almost a week ABZ was treated there as a victim of a torture by several female senior high school (SMA) students, who were friends of her older cousin.
The mistreatment case became a hot topic in the social media after the hashtag of concern to the victim, ABZ, appeared on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. There was also a petition demanding speedy punishment for the perpetrators. Three students were mentioned in social media as the main offenders. Nine other students as the culprits’ peers were only watching without helping the victim. The violent act was allegedly triggered by a love affair between one of the delinquents and a relative of the victim, as well as an exchange of abusive comments in social media.
The social media at first mentioned the victim’s harassment by 11 female SMA students that caused her private parts to swell. After a medical check, Chief of the Medicine and Hygiene Division of West Kalimantan Bhayangkara Hospital, Sucipto, said no sign of violence was found. “There is no abuse of her sensitive area. It is unlike what was cited in social media,” said Sucipto on Wednesday, April 10.
As the examination was conducted a week after the incident. According to West Kalimantan Regional Police Chief Insp. Gen. Didi Haryono, the police found no trace of abuse on the victim’s body. “The examination report shows no sign of violent abuse whatsoever,” said Didi.
The victim’s family in fact reported the assault case to the police only a week after the occurrence. Liliek Meiliani, the victim’s mother, was aware of her daughter’s having been tortured only after noticing ABZ frequently waking up from her sleep and screaming. “Only after I asked she admitted had been a victim of violence committed by her older cousin’s friends,” said Liliek.
Until Wednesday afternoon, the police had not yet questioned the victim as she was under hospital care. Pontianak city police investigators only examined the victim’s mother and four female SMA students cognizant of the mobbing. The examination of teenagers attacking ABZ was zealously discussed in social media because they recorded themselves just before the examination in the police office while also making jokes in their Instagram accounts.
To the police, the victim’s parents reported three names as alleged perpetrators. Until Wednesday noon, the police had not yet named suspects in the case. “But the case has entered the stage of inquiry,” said National Police Chief of Public Information Bureau Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo.
Later in the afternoon, President Joko Widodo made a statement about the case. Jokowi asked National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian to stringently handle this assault. “I have instructed the police chief to handle the case in accordance with the legal procedure,” said Jokowi.
In less than three hours, Pontianak City Police Chief Sr. Comsr. Anwar Nasir declared three suspects in the case: FZ alias LL (17), TR alias AR (17) and NB alias EC (17). Anwar said the suspects were determined after investigators had questioned several witnesses and received medical record from ProMedika Hospital. “They have also confessed of their assault toward the victim,” said Anwar.
As the suspects are juveniles, the police charge them with violating Article 76C in conjunction with Article 80 paragraph 1 of the Juvenile Protection Law regarding violence against children, which is liable to three and a half years’ imprisonment. Pursuant to this law, an out-of-court settlement or diversion is made possible as long as it follows the relevant provisions and is agreed upon by both sides. Perpetrators’ apologies can serve as a basis for a peaceful settlement. Only offenders punishable by a prison term of less than seven years can use the out of court settlement.
The police and the Child Supervision and Protection Commission of Pontianak have executed two diversions. The first was on April 5. One of the perpetrators has apologized for the violence against ABZ. “I regret my behavior,” said the youngster with a brown headscarf, sobbing. The same was uttered by a teenager wearing a blue headscarf. She also claimed to be a victim. “Everybody accused me of being a culprit while I was not in the location. I was called a provocateur,” she said.
They explained that the conflict was not caused by a love affair. The victim’s cousin was said to be a former lover of a teenager involved in the assault. But they said the torture had taken place because ABZ referred to LL’s parents as being often in debt. They also denied any stabbing of ABZ’s private parts. “We were fighting instead of mobbing. ABZ also fought back,” said one of the offenders.
The next diversion was conducted on April 11. But the victim’s family insisted that the case should be processed by law, because according to the victim’s mother, Liliek Meiliani, the torture made her child depressed due to her trauma. “I don’t want a peace deal. I want this case to be fully handled to deter the perpetrators. I want to see them punished,” she said. In Liliek’s view, her daughter was cruelly maltreated.
ABZ explained the chronology of her persecution to the police. She was riding in tandem on a motorcycle with PP, her cousin. On the road, two motorcycles were following them. As they reached Jalan Sulawesi on the bank of Kapuas River, ABZ and PP were suddenly attacked from behind. Perpetrator TR then poured water and pulled the hair of ABZ so that she fell on the ground. The other, EC, stamped on the stomach and banged ABZ’s head against the road. ABZ took flight along with PP by motorcycle but again they were intercepted by TR and LL at Akcaya Park not far from Jalan Sulawesi.
In this location ABZ got TR’s stranglehold and then LL kicked her on the belly. Nine other youngsters were watching and letting the scuffles happen. The fighting was later noticed by residents. The perpetrators were scared and fled.
Chairperson of the Regional Child Protection Commission Eka Nurhayati said the root cause of the problem was ABZ’s exchange of comments in social media. “The motive was a love affair,” added Eka.
The victim’s older cousin initialed PP had an ex-lover now having ties with D, one of the perpetrators. ABZ made a lot of comments in D’s social media account so that she was emotionally provoked. The other, LL, could not accept the victim’s comment revealing the debts of LL’s mother. “Actually LL’s mother has died,” said Eka.