An Indonesian woman was held captive in a cave for 15 years by a local spiritual healer who regularly raped her, police say.
The 28-year-old woman, identified only as “H”, was found Sunday in a crevice behind large rocks near Bajugan village in Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province, local police said in a statement Monday.
Officers had received a tip-off that H was being held there by an 83-year-old village shaman named Jago, the Jakarta Post reported. After detaining and interrogating Jago, they found and rescued her.
According to the police, H’s family had brought her to Jago for treatment in 2003, when she was 13 years-old. Jago was well-known for offering alternative medicines and ‘magical’ healing methods.
Soon after, Jago told H’s family that she had left to go ‘far away,’ police said. She was reported missing after her family failed to track her down.
According to the police statement, Jago sexually assaulted H for 15 years under the pretense of magic or witchcraft. He would show her a photo of a man named Amrin, whom he claimed was a jin, or genie. During sex, Amrin would then appear or enter Jago’s body, Jago told H, police said.
“Since the perpetrator was well-respected in the village, there is a possibility that there are other victims that have not yet come forward because they are afraid,” Magdalena Sitorus, commissioner of the National Commission on Violence Against Women, told the Jakarta Post.
“The victim should be brought to a hospital for psychological and reproductive health examinations,” she added. “Who knows what kind of changes 15 years have brought her.”
The police have charged Jago under articles of the Child Protection Law regarding sexual abuse of underage children. He faces up to 15 years in prison.