Arientha Primanita & Zaky Pawas
Aman was detained by TransJakarta busway security officers after a woman screamed and slapped him for allegedly squeezing her breast.
Monday night’s incident came a month after TransJakarta launched a trial to separate male and female commuters in response to reports of groping by sex pests.
TransJakarta security officer Hadi Priyatno said the detained man was 59.
“We detained him after a woman on the bus screamed and slapped him for allegedly squeezing her breast,” Hadi said.
The incident allegedly happened near the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle on a bus plying the Blok M-Kota route.
“The man did not resist when we grabbed and detained him because witnesses saw the act,” Hadi said.
He said the man was taken to South Jakarta Police headquarters, where he was questioned by an officer from the women and children’s detectives division.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Boy Rafli Amar said that because the victim had not filed a police complaint, it could not be considered a criminal case.
“The victim has to testify because, according to our regulations, a crime has to be based on a complaint. If she does not file a complaint, then it is not a crime,” Boy said.
He said he would still recommend that security cameras be installed on TransJakarta buses to provide evidence in the event of such incidents in the future.
Monday’s incident comes a month after another woman was allegedly sexually harassed by a man on a TransJakarta bus.
Foni, 31, said South Jakarta Police had advised her not to file a report because of a lack of evidence, warning that the man she had accused might end up suing her for defamation.
“Police told me that there was a lack of evidence since there were no witnesses. Nobody saw him groping me,” Foni told the Jakarta Globe.
After listening to the advice of a female police officer, she decided not to file a report against the 32-year-old man.
Foni’s incident prompted the city administration to launch a trial scheme to separate men and women on the buses to thwart sexual harassment.
The scheme ran into immediate problems because the busway shelters and buses have only have one door, thereby precluding any strict splitting of the sexes.
Men and women now seem to be mingling freely on the buses just as they were before the trial started.
TransJakarta official Gunardjo said on Tuesday that the segregation trial would continue only in the bus shelters, and not inside the buses.
“To separate people inside the bus itself is very hard because it’s impossible for children and old people, particularly since the number of passengers continues to increase,” Gunardjo said.
Tri Tjahjono, from the Jakarta branch of the Indonesian Transportation Society, said that bus attendants could manage the passengers during evening trips when the buses were not crowded.
“They can tell female passengers to sit behind the driver’s side while the male passengers sit on the other side, politely of course,” Tri said.
But he said that during rush hour it was difficult to insist on segregation.
He said this meant bus guards had to be alert not just to crimes such as theft and vandalism but to sexual harassment.
Bano Yogaswara, assistant manager of the control division at the TransJakarta Management Unit, said that when Monday night’s alleged incident occurred the bus had not been crowded. “So it was not a case of someone taking advantage of there being a crowd,” he said.
The trial segregation has drawn some criticism but has been generally supported by female passengers.
Gunardjo said it had been determined that there were 21 bus shelters where segregating queues would not work for a variety of reasons, including that they were just too small.
Those shelters include Masjid Agung, Senen, Tosari, Glodok, Juanda and Pasar Baru.
Gunardjo, however, said TransJakarta would stick with the policy as it also wanted to educate people to be orderly.
He said there were 1,300 officers assigned in the shelters and on the buses. Their duties were to supervise the shelters, bus arrivals and departures and monitor the bus lane.
Andyka, a member of Jakarta City Council’s Commission B, which oversees economic issues, said TransJakarta must improve its performance so people would trust it as a prime means of public transportation.
“It is important the number of passengers on one bus is limited so people can be more comfortable and the officer can easily monitor the situation,” he said.