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I found this question on a forum https://www.livinginindonesiaforum.org/forum/general/laws-visas-money-matters-and-documents/52502-age-of-consent

Wikipedia says 15. However,

Article 82 child protection law says the following:

Every one who deliberately commits violence, or threat of violence, forces, does tricks, tells a series of lies, or persuades a child to do, or let obscene acts be done, is subject to penalty of 15 (fifteen) years at most and 3 (three) years at least and fine of Rp. 300.000.000 (three hundreds millions) at most and Rp. 60.000.000 at least.

https://www2.congreso.gob.pe/sicr/cendocbib/con4_uibd.nsf/E67F49F7CC441622052580330075862B/$FILE/ANNEX-3-Laws-of-child_protection.pdf

I found the law a bit weird.

It prohibits some nonconsensual stuffs like "deliberately commits violence, or threat of violence, forces, does tricks, tells a series of lies", however, later it adds a phrase 'persuade'. Persuading someone is not necessarily nonconsensual. All the words describe nonconsensual activity except 'persuade'.

Also, one interpretation of this article is that all sex with girls under 18 is illegal. However, if that's the case, why not just make it simple and

don't have sex with girls under 18

?

If all obscene acts with a girl under 18 are illegal, why doesn't the law simply say don't do obscene acts with a girl under 18?

If some obscene acts are legal, why does it say "coerce, trick, bla bla bla, persuade" girls to have sex with you if she is under 18?

Why does the law prohibit persuading girls to do obscene acts but does not prohibit the actual doing of the obscene act itself? Kind of weird.

Of course the law says do obscene acts instead of having sex. I am not even sure what obscene acts include.

What am I missing here?

Actually, due to this, is age of consent in Indonesia 18 or 15?

Any actual court cases will be great.

In the forum I sent someone actually asked this:

"The exploitation" and "persuasion" angle is not very clear to me. So sex with a girl above 15 is legal unless you "exploit" or "persuade" her to do so. Can anyone shows actual court cases?

It seems that actual court cases for this sort of thing is very few.

So if the law is to be read literally, it looks like having sex with a girl above 15 is legal unless you "exploit" or "persuade". Which is absurd.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – feetwet
    Jun 14 at 12:47
8

Content Warning: this post mentions rape / non-consensual sex and discusses (in some non-explicit detail) coercion of minors.


As of Tuesday, March 1st, 2016, according to the Indonesian Penal Code (translated version; I cannot read Indonesian), Indonesia's age of consent is 16 years old (18 for homosexual acts). Indonesia also does not have close-in-age exemptions (for example, in Canada, the age of consent is 16 years old, but a 14-year-old can consent to a partner less than 5 years older, and a 12-year-old can consent within 2 years).

I cannot verify this source but according to Wikipedia, which cites this PDF, the age of consent could be raised to 18 years under the Child Protection Act arguing that sexual acts can cause bodily or mental harm and "child" is defined as anyone under 18 years of age. As an example, according to Wikipedia, a court case in 2009 (Sydney Morning Herald) saw this used to convict an Australian man.


There is nothing weird about this law. I left this as a comment, but let me elaborate in an answer. Your misconception is that persuasion is an innocent and ethical thing. The harsh reality is that children are, on average, more ignorant than adults and lack judgement, foresight, and rationality at times, and there are disgusting individuals that will exploit this fact to get children to do things they otherwise wouldn't such as sex, or drugs. Additionally, age comes with a power imbalance - think a teacher using their power over a student to convince or coerce them into having sex with them. That is not strictly violence, nor telling lies, or "forcing" in the strict sense, nor trickery, but a reasonable individual would still consider that to be not real consent.

The fact is that children can only consent if it is entirely of their own accord and judgement and there is no extrinsic pressure forcing or persuading them to. In fact, I argue that adults are subject to this too and persuading or coercing an adult into having sex is also disgusting (but doing this to children is far more abhorrent). But since children are considered by law to lack the judgement to protect themselves against coercion and realize they should reject and get away from their persuader, the law instead protects them.

Persuading someone is not necessarily non-consensual.

It holds a high chance of being non-consensual, and consent is only considered real when it is a) not coerced, and b) the subject is legally capable; that is, not intoxicated, not a minor (by whatever the age of cosnent is), etc.

If all obscene acts with a girl under 18 are illegal, why doesn't the law simply say don't do obscene acts with a girl under 18?

Because sex with people between 16 and 18 is legal (in Indonesia) under the right conditions. Although I must say, since you word it as "obscene acts", then of course they're illegal. Obscene acts are, by definition, morally reprehensible and/or legally incriminating, so illegal things are illegal, is basically what you're saying. Just say "having sex" if you mean "having sex".

Why does the law prohibit persuading girls to do obscene acts but does not prohibit the actual doing of the obscene act itself? Kind of weird.

This makes no sense at all, and hopefully after reading my answer you understand why this makes absolutely no sense.

How in the earth anyone can have sex with someone without persuading? He walks the street and accidentally plug his penis in?

... Rape? There are many ways to have sex with someone without persuading them that I don't think I have to list. Your main mistake is still conflating persuaded / coerced consent as real consent.


In summary, persuasion is not some innocent matter of convincing someone in a friendly manner to have sex. It includes coercion, abusing one's power, exploiting a child's ignorance and limited judgement or foresight, and other reprehensible factors. Consent cannot be given if the individual is too young, impaired, unable to legally give consent, or coerced into it.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – feetwet
    Jun 14 at 12:49
  • 3
    More generally, the word translated as "persuasion" in this context probably has a well defined meaning in Indonesian legalese, and it is quite plausible that the word "persuasion" isn't really the most apt translation to capture a subtle nuance or shade of meaning. I suspect that the English language legal term that would be the best translation is something like "uses undue influence or abuses a confidential relationship" to do so. Such inapt translations of key words in statutes (usually by people who aren't lawyers in both countries) isn't at all uncommon.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 14 at 17:43
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    I see. The term in Indonesian is "membujuk" which does mean persuade. I am not sure if it's legalese
    – obfuscated
    Jun 16 at 9:16
  • I suspect that the meaning in this context is similar in substance to the standard established in 15 U.S.C. § 1591.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 16 at 16:50
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    @obfuscated "membujuk" is also sometimes translated into English as "coax", "entice", "induce", "lure", "cajole", "weedle", "seduce", "trick", "tempt", "overpersuade" and "get to do" (and those following words are sometimes translated into Indonesian as "membujuk"). Looking at the universe of alternative possible translations, merely translating it as "persuade" seems to be missing some connotations that are present in the original.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 16 at 16:56
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From what I study, as far as I know, the law is vague and very inconsistently applied.

I thought about this law and I found something like this

https://www.hukumonline.com/klinik/detail/ulasan/lt50692e475ef42/persetubuhan-anak-dibawah-18-tahun-dengan-orang-dewasa/

I will just google translate it for you

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=https://www.hukumonline.com/klinik/detail/ulasan/lt50692e475ef42/persetubuhan-anak-dibawah-18-tahun-dengan-orang-dewasa/

It basically says

Furthermore, in his judgment, the judge stated that according to the Child Protection Law, the law protects children from all forms of sexual intercourse, whether consensual or persuasion, especially if there is coercion. This means that "on a consensual basis" in sexual intercourse involving children, it cannot be used as an excuse for the perpetrator to avoid legal entanglement.

So the opinion, there, at least, is that no sex with anyone under 18 is legal.

The article refers to case 157/Pid.B/2011/PN Pangkajene however I cannot find such case. Also this is just low court (pengadilan negeri). The lower courts often consistently decide differently than the supreme court, precisely because the judge in lower courts have different understanding on what the law means than the one in supreme court. At least assuming it's innocent misunderstanding at all.

Of course, if consent doesn't matter, then why not just say it in simpler way.

On the other hand, https://www.ageofconsent.net/world/indonesia says that the age of consent is 16. Again no explanation whatsoever what the laws said.

This one says 18 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_age_of_consent

However, Indonesia have no Romeo and Juliet laws. So again it's not clear if the one writing the table is aware of that. So a 17 years old having sex with a 19 years old should make no difference whatsoever.

A lawyer told me that proofing actual lewd act with minor is difficult because it's often done in closed room. A maid can say that a guy come with a minor and even if the minor testify, it would be less than 2 required witness. I wonder if Indonesian law is so blind that it can't figure out the obvious.

Another actual court case is on a girl named Peni Rizki Yani.

She seems to have sex with many guys. Got pregnant. One of the guy, but not the other go to jail. It seems that she or her family chose to pursue that one guy. There is no proof that the child is the defendant's child because she seems to have aborted the baby.

That's the only case that I know of where the sex is "normal" and the girl is above 15 and below 18

Searching for https://www.google.com/search?q=PENI+RIZKI+YANI+mahkamah+agung&oq=pen&aqs=chrome.0.69i59l4j69i57j69i59j69i60l2.3243j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 shows some sources but the server in Indonesia is down.

Another case is this https://megapolitan.kompas.com/read/2021/04/19/21405601/kronologi-remaja-yang-diperkosa-anak-anggota-dprd-bekasi-juga-dijual?page=all

A guy kidnap and rape and prostitute a 15 years old girl. However, he guy is a son of a legislative member. He offered to "marry" the girl. However, the girl's father refused and the case is ongoing.

It seems that had the girl parents choose to accept compensation, the case would have been dismissed. However, the case is ongoing.

So it seems that willingness to enforce is very low for this sort of crime even when act is obviously not consensual. Another guy that consensually grab breasts will go to jail for a minimum of 3 years.

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  • 1
    Almost none of this is relevant to answering the question, and what little is left, is the same nonsense argument used in the original question.
    – Nij
    Jun 16 at 10:58
  • The question asks what's the age of consent in Indonesia. The article gives a legal opinion that it's 18. Of course, the real issue is it's not clear and not even wikipedia can figure this out. I saw that article and I thought it could be answer
    – obfuscated
    Jun 16 at 14:39
  • I'll add court cases. Please don't delete first. I think I'll find some stuffs first
    – obfuscated
    Jun 16 at 15:12
  • It seems that this whole thing is very inconsistently applied. So if the question is, what's actually prohibited, and that is based on actual court cases, then the answer is that it's very vague we cannot predict how things will go
    – obfuscated
    Jun 29 at 5:21

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