Indonesian woman jailed for exposing boss' harassment. What?
People often shift the onus of sexual misconduct onto the victim, demanding explanations, justifications, and action. Believability is often challenged by the question, "If it really happened, why didn't you report?" Turns out, that recourse isn't as fruitful as it should be. An Indonesian woman recorded lewd calls from her boss to present as evidence of sexual harassment and now she's going to jail.
Nuril Maknun (41) worked as a part-time bookkeeper at the Senior High School Seven, Mataram. In 2012, she allegedly started receiving sexually explicit calls from the principal, who goes by the single name Muslim. Muslim allegedly tried coaxing Maknun into an affair, so she recorded his calls. The recordings were circulated among school staff, submitted to a local education agency, and went viral online.
Ironically, in November, the Supreme Court found Maknun guilty of "violating decency" as per Indonesia's electronic information and transactions law in a 2015 case filed by Muslim against her for circulating the recordings. Muslim reportedly lost his job after the recordings were circulated. The court also dismissed her judicial review plea to overturn the verdict, because "her crime has been legally and convincingly proven."
Maknun, who was previously acquitted after spending a month in jail during the investigation, was sentenced to a six-month jail term and a fine of 500 million rupiahs (Rs. 24 lakh) was imposed. She challenged the verdict which was rejected by the SC on Thursday.
Now, speaking to Reuters, executive director of the Legal Aid Foundation for the Press, Ade Wahyudin, said, "We are concerned about the impact of this decision because it opens a door for perpetrators of sexual violence to criminalize victims." "Why can he just casually walk around," Maknun asked, speaking to The New York Times, "while I, as the victim, am the one being punished?"
Further, Maknun, whose jail term could be extended if her family fails to pay the fine, has also clarified that a friend at the school took the voice recordings from her phone and leaked them. She said she's not to be blamed for the circulation.
Evidently, the case sparked widespread outrage across Indonesia, and last year, President Joko Widodo directed Maknun to seek a judicial review, and if that fails, request clemency. However, Maknun's jail term isn't long enough to qualify for clemency, Aziz Fauzi, one of Maknun's lawyers, clarified to Reuters. The only option left is asking the President for amnesty and see if he could pardon her.
Meanwhile, Maknun is "relatively calm" and "ready to accept the verdict," her lawyer, Joko Jumadi told BBC Indonesian. However, she hopes that she would be the "last victim to face criminal charges" in Indonesia for daring to raise her voice against sexual harassment.