Saturday, 2 May 2009

Bali’s rape and bad sex culture

Bali’s rape and bad sex culture
By Bali BS News
Aug 29, 2005, 08:06


It is perhaps ironic that Bali is often reported and generally perceived to be a safe place for women to travel to without fear of being raped. Although Bali is possibly safer than some other countries for western women to visit, it is hardly “safe”. One only has to visit the Bali Paradise web site to see this, as it carries a prominent account of a recent rape in Sanur, plus advice on what a woman should do during and after being raped. Although we believe western women getting raped in Bali is less likely because Bali’s rapists are the most cowardly kind, child rapists, and perhaps too cowardly to risk confronting a healthy adult with their bad intent.

It is in Indonesia’s unfortunate culture that this all comes from. Even to this day, neighboring Java has areas where child marriages (normally the girl is well under the legal age of 18, not the man), that involves children from 11 to 16 years old, accounting for 15% to 16% of the marriages performed in those areas, including East Java, a short ferry trip to Bali away. In fact, it is almost certain most of the “massage” girls found on Sanur Beach and the girls plying the western tourist clubs and pubs of Kuta and Legian come from Java and were married as young as 11 years old to an older man who then put them to work in Bali. Don’t forget, Muslim men can legally marry 3 women (including girls) in Indonesia as long as they can afford that many. Of course any man can afford 3 wives if he actually ends up making money from them as their pimp.

This nasty culture, where foreign male tourists come alone or in groups to Bali for sex with young boys and girls is clearly widespread. The case of an Australian teacher working in Bali paying young boys as little as US$1.50 each per time to have sex with him made the headlines recently, but the culture is indigenous, not imported. Perhaps the only reason this person got caught and made the headlines is because he was a registered child offender in Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald stated that corrupt law enforcement officials and low or it seems non-existent arrest rates are the reasons foreign pedophiles are increasingly targeting the island. These sorts of crimes rarely get reported, but if they do the police almost certainly can be bought. And the practice of older men plying for sex with minors is widespread in Bali. You only have to talk to young Balinese women to find out about how some teachers regularly made moves on them when they were as young as 11, and how they have to be so careful when on their own to avoid being raped to understand this. Of course, with the Indonesian stance and public views on homosexuality, you are unlikely to get quite so much candor from young men.

Then there are those particularly nasty accounts of young children on holiday in Bali who allegedly are raped or otherwise forced to perform sexual acts upon their adult child care supervisors[sic]. There are two recent reported cases involving alleged rape / sexual abuse of children whose parents had left them in the care of crèches in 5 star hotels in Nusa Dua. One 3 year old girl contracted gonorrhea, one 5 year boy is alleged to have been forced to perform oral sex on his male adult supervisor. The hotel involved in the 3 year old girl affair settled out of court without admitting liability, the 5 year old boy case is still going on. Now these are reported incidents. Like rapes, how many other incidents are likely given the fact that most parents would want to keep such crimes quiet? And isn’t it even more frightening that these cases happened in Bali’s supposed top luxury hotels? What goes on in other hotels where security and screening maybe even worse?

It seems clear that many men go to and even live in Bali to exploit the economic victim sex scene. Whether that be a western “expat” having one or more young girls exclusively tend to their selfish needs in return for a “salary”, or whether that is a western male tourist simply picking up and paying for a young girl to stay the night with him. It clearly goes on and is accepted. We have seen a recent email from the Hard Rock Hotel to a potential guest (male) explaining what procedure (registration) he would need to do in order to bring a local girl from the Hard Rock Café to his hotel room. The Hard Rock Café is well known as somewhere young “kupu kupu malams” (night butterflies) operate; see, they even have a delicate polite name for prostitutes in Bali to try and make such a terrible and illegal act somehow acceptable.

Bali is also famous for female sex tourists as well, with the expression “Kuta Cowboys” referring to local boys who are willing to “date” older western women for financial favours. In fact, many are very aggressive in their pitches to apparently single female tourists. And all of this in a country where kissing on the lips in public is illegal! But of course the real problem is not the law, but rather the law enforcement officers who are only in their uniform in order to extort money from people. They are clearly so inept in fighting crime as it is a commonly held belief that the only criminal investigations conducted in Bali are ones where someone has made a complaint, most often for the wrong reasons, and that a Balinese police officer would not recognize a criminal act otherwise less it were to slap them in the face! It seems the only time the police act as public servants in Bali is when other authorities and the media are involved. And it shows how badly they do this when you consider the Schapelle Corby case, where police officers destroyed any chance of finger print evidence when they all actually handled the bags of drugs Ms. Corby was alleged to have tried to smuggle in with their bare hands.

So, as long as you keep your nose clean and / or have enough money to buy yourself out of trouble with the police in the rare event they do become involved, Bali is the perfect sex tourist destination it seems. Which is why it is so important for decent people, not out to abuse children, or even risk their own children being abused, to help the Balinese stop these acts being committed on their island and against their own children. But, unfortunately, until the Balinese police force stop apparently working solely to line their pockets through extortion will this ever become possible. Unfortunately, as corruption clearly goes right to the top and while decent tourists still come into Bali, there seems to be little motivation for the Indonesian authorities to truly do anything about this.

Think of it this way; as long as regular tourists come to Bali, the Indonesian government is happy. But because of corruption, poverty exists in Bali and other islands when it really need not (see our report: Indonesian Corruption, the cost). Corruption goes all the way in Indonesia to the very top, so fighting corruption is self-defeating for the people at the top of the ladder. This corruption enforced poverty forces many children into the sex trade business to one degree or another. What will it take to stop the corruption and with it the crime, including child rape which is rife on Bali? Unfortunately it will take motivation, and the only motivation we believe strong enough is for decent people to boycott Bali, and to tell the Indonesian government that they are doing it and why. It seems only if Indonesia’s third largest industry, tourism, is under threat will they sit up and take notice. We suggest you email Bali’s Tourism Board (info@bali-tourism-board.com), the government of Bali (pemprop@bali.go.id), Bali’s Tourist Authority (webmaster@balitourismauthority.net), Indonesia’s Department of Tourism and Culture (pusdatin@budpar.go.id) and finally Indonesia’s Corruption Reduction Commission (pengaduan@kpk.go.id) and tell them why you are going somewhere else on holiday or to invest. Wow, yes, so many officials; seems like a case of jobs for the boys! Please also note, we do not believe the corruption commission is a real, effective one (see our report: Indonesian Corruption Commission), but at least they have the president’s ear.

If you think that boycotting Bali will hurt the very people you want to help, think again. After the October 2002 bombings, apart from the nasty commercial travel & tour agent hacks on the island blaming foreign governments for their subsequent woes (let us not forget that), many people reported that no-one on Bali would starve if the tourists stayed away. Sure, hotel workers would have to go back to the rice fields, but many Balinese said that Bali would probably become Bali again. And if boycotting Bali’s tourism makes the government sit up, take note and actually act as it should, you can imagine what sort of future Bali’s young would then have in terms of living in a decent environment with a legitimate police force protecting it, not destroying it. Also, economically in just 10 years, the Balinese could have the same standard of living as you (see our report based on data from the International Monetary Fund and Transparency International: Indonesian Corruption Costs to understand why). If you say it is the people who boycott Bali who are hurting the Balinese, it is actually you that is doing them the real harm by feeding the system that abuses them.

By the way, just for the record. We got our picture of a night butterfly on what is a clearly just used bed in Bali from a web site offering sex tours to the island, which does not have a copyright notice. We did not take the picture ourselves. And yes, how happy she looks[sic].
Bali’s rape and bad sex culture

1 comment:

Arts4Artsakes said...

I support all your comments and want to add to it that female travellers are not safe. On my early morning walk attempting to access the beach i walked through a 'gang' and happened upon a female tourist completely disorientated. she had been dragged into the gang after two Balinese youths had raped and drugged her. Her wallet had been stolen and she had no idea where she was. As for the pedophile racket - i observe the young traveller in Bali , particularly the Australians and it would seem that they have learnt well from their fathers. Drunk and arrogant they become the 'slumdog millionaires' of Kuta at night where for a Rp 100,000 you can rape an underage villager and be a hero in the pub. I suggest that all hotel have a well displayed sign of an agency we can contact o take a ph the abuse. I would like to be able to take a photograph of the situation and all hell break loose when the tourist attempts to exit Bali - it would require an independent watchdog - and that's the catch isn't it? When you prostitute your nation from the top down , what can you expect? Bali as a holiday destination has lost its appeal - the only reason I would return is as a human activist.