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Brutal gang rape of 14-year-old in Indonesia

Jakarta: Yuyun, a 14-year-old student from a small village in Sumatra, was walking home in her school uniform on April 2 when she was dragged into a forest and allegedly gang raped and murdered by 14 males.

The alleged rapists, many of whom were younger than 18, had been drinking palm liquor before the attack, according to police who have arrested 12 of the 14 accused.

A passerby, drawn by a strong stench three days later, discovered her battered corpse, naked and tied up, in a ravine.

The case received little media attention, bar a few paragraphs in the local press in Bengkulu province on the south-west coast of Sumatra.

But female activists in Indonesia were determined to publicise it, both to seek justice for Yuyun, but also to highlight the broader issue of violence against women in Indonesia.

Jakarta-based women's activist Kate Walton has been researching the number of Indonesian women killed by men, especially intimate partners.

The project was inspired by Counting Dead Women, which catalogues the number of women murdered by men in Australia from the beginning of 2014.

"From my personal data, some 44 women have been killed by men in Indonesia this year, including seven teenagers," Ms Walton said.

She points out that the national and international media outrage over the gang rape of 23-year-old physiotherapy intern Jyoti Singh on a bus in India in 2012 led to significant legal reforms.

"I think what led us to try to bring Yuyun's case to the media was to demonstrate that this is only one of a number of cases in 2016," Ms Walton said.

"Her rape and murder was not an isolated incident."

Indonesian singer and activist Kartika Jahja – better known as Tika – coined the hashtag #NyalaUntukYuyun (flame for Yuyun), which was soon trending on Twitter.

On Tuesday, 20 NGOs held a joint press conference in Jakarta calling on President Joko Widodo to fast track a draft bill on sexual violence before Parliament.

They said the president had moved quickly after the terrorist attacks outside the Sarinah shopping mall in January and on funding infrastructure but was dragging his feet passing the bill.

The draft bill stipulates a maximum prison sentence of 15 years for sex-crime offences and seeks better protection for rape victims.

Vivi Widyawat, an activist from Politik Rakyat, said the bill ranked 19th on the priority list of bills to be deliberated by Parliament.

"The longer it takes for the bill to be passed into law the more victims will be failed," she said.

Dian Novita, from Perempuan Mahardhika, an NGO on women's affairs, also called for the government to include gender equality in the school curriculum.

"The government wanted to strengthen the religious education content in the curriculum. But we activists think it will not solve the problem because religion tends to lead to conservatism. Patriarchy tends to see women as subordinate in the society."

Meanwhile, a candle-lit vigil will be held for Yuyun outside the presidential palace in Jakarta on Wednesday, May 4, from 4-6pm.

"Yuyun's rape and murder, slowly getting the exposure it deserves. I really hope this is the 1st step to her getting justice #NyalaUntukYuyun," Kartika Jahja tweeted.

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