Yuyun “is actually just one of 44 women and girls killed by men and boys in the first four months of 2016, but her case is certainly one of the most brutal,” says Kate Walton, a Jakarta-based women’s-rights activist who first brought Yuyun’s rape-murder to the attention of other feminists. She logs instances of Indonesian women killed by men, who are mostly their sexual partners.
By her count, 30 of the 44 females killed by males this year died at the hands of their current or former sexual partners. She points out that around the world, the vast majority of women are murdered by men they know, often their husbands or boyfriends — and Indonesia is no exception.
According to the National Commission on Violence Against Women, an average of 35 women are victims of sexual violence in Indonesia every day. Nearly 70% of cases of violence against women, be they fatal or nonfatal, are committed by family members or partners.
In the wake of the gang rape, the commission is pressing the government to pass the long-awaited Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill. “The state has to show a sense of urgency [on] the issue of sexual violence,” it said.
Women’s-rights activists hope that the outrage generated by Yuyun’s case can push for change in both legislation and also in daily life, and say that patriarchal culture is the root cause of violence against women.
Back in Yuyun’s village, her family is still reeling from the grief and shock. Girls in the village don’t dare to walk to and from home unescorted.
“We want the perpetrators get the heaviest punishment,” her mother Yana told BBC Indonesia. “I want to ask for life.”