JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) A judge being interviewed for a Supreme Court job jokes that women might enjoy rape. A local official takes a 17-year-old second wife, then quickly divorces her by text message.
Both cases reflect attitudes toward women's rights and safety that have persisted for years in this Southeast Asian archipelago nation of 240 million people. The difference now: Both officials are at risk of losing their jobs.
Women in this social-media-obsessed country have been rallying, online and on the streets, against sexist comments and attacks on women. The response is seen as a small step for women's rights in Indonesia, where the government is secular and most people practice a moderate form of Islam.
"We are living in a different era now," said Husein Muhammad of the National Commission on Violence Against Women . ". Now we have supporting laws and social media to bring severe consequences and social sanctions."
Still, rights groups say the country remains far behind on many issues involving gender equality and violence. Rape cases often are not properly investigated, and victims are sometimes blamed.
And although it is rare to divorce by text message, as Aceng Fikri did last summer, unregistered polygamous marriages such as his are common.
Fikri, chief of Garut district in West Java province, called it quits four days after marrying his teenage bride in July. He claimed she was not a virgin, which she denied.
Thousands of people took to the streets in December to protest. Students and women's rights activists in Garut demanded that he resign, trampling and spitting on photos of his face before setting them ablaze outside his council building.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono responded by issuing a rare public condemnation of the 40-year-old official and his illegal marriage. The Supreme Court late last month recommended that the president dismiss Fikri for violating the marriage law, and police are investigating the case because it involves a minor.
Outrage also erupted in social media in January after Judge Muhammad Daming Sunusi told a parliamentary selection panel for Supreme Court positions that it could be a mistake to impose the death penalty for rape because both the attacker and the victim "might have enjoyed" it. The remark reportedly drew laughter from panel members. Sunusi later apologized and said he been joking.
"Enough is enough!" said Muhammad, of the commission on violence against women . "Our officials should no longer mess around and issue ridiculous statements even as a dumb joke."
Not only was Sunusi rejected for a job on the Supreme Court, but the country's Judicial Commission has recommended that he be dismissed from his position on the South Sumatra High Court. But the Supreme Court would have to agree, and it has said such punishment would be too severe because he made the remark in an interview, not during a trial.
Sunusi is hardly the first in Indonesia to be criticized for his comments about rape.
In 2011, after a woman was gang raped on a minibus, then-Jakarta governor Fauzi Bowo drew protests after warning women not to wear miniskirts on public transportation because it could arouse male passengers. Bowo lost his re-election bid last year.