Headlines

Sex assaults soar as minister
blames victims

The National Commission on Child Protection (Komnas PA) says that at least 129 teenagers have been sexually assaulted this year to date, already surpassing the 121 cases recorded in the whole of 2011.

The chairman of Komnas PA, Arist Merdeka Sirait, described the situation as dire, calling on parents to be more vigilant and for the National Police crack down on online sex predators.

“In the month of October alone we recorded six cases. We also learned that the victims in 27 cases were exposed to crimes through online social networks,” Arist said.

He said that sexual predators have been scouring social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter to find victims.

Arist said that parents needed to carefully monitor their children’s activities online, given the dangers posed by the Internet to children, and urged parents to become aware of the latest developments in social media.

“How can the parents say no to the Internet if they have no idea about it. Parents, for instance, need to have a Facebook account,” Arist said.

Earlier this month, a 14-year-old girl in Depok, West Java, identified as SAS narrowly avoided becoming the latest victim of a Batam-based ring of human traffickers that found its victims using social media.

The girl had been reported missing for a week after she met with a man who first encountered through Facebook.

The man, identified as Den Gilang alias Yugi, befriended several minors on Facebook and asked SAS to meet him outside a department store on Sept. 23, where a public minivan with several of his friends were waiting.

According to SAS’ statement to the police, the men took her to a house in Parung, Bogor, where several other teenage girls were held against their will.

For one week, Yugi allegedly raped SAS, threatened to kill her and forced her to have sex with other men under the influence of alcohol. SAS was released a week later, reportedly due to the attention her disappearance had attracted.

However, an uproar followed when school officials expelled SAS when she attempted to return
for class.

The brave 14-year-old returned to school for the first time on Oct. 8 after a one-month absence following her traumatic ordeal, only to be told to return home as the school “could no longer accept a student that has tarnished the school’s image”.

The controversy continued when Education and Culture Minister Mohammad Nuh weighed in, saying that SAS could have been looking for mischief, before alleging that the 14-year-old girl may have consented to have sex and then claimed to have been raped.

“Sometimes it can be intentional. They do it for fun and then the girl alleges that it’s a rape,” Nuh said as quoted by Antara news agency late last week.

Condemnation continued to pile on Nuh on Sunday when the Indonesian Teachers Union Federation (FSGI) issued a statement saying that ill-advised comments from senior government officials that blame rape victims are ruining education in the country.

“The negative comment, which discredited the victim, was made even when he [Nuh] has not met with her,” Retno said as quoted by tribunnews.com.

Retno said that sexual assault constituted a human rights violation that could have wide implications for the families of victims and for society in general.

Nuh’s statement evoked a remark made by outgoing Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo after a college student was gang raped and then strangled to death when taking a minibus to class at Bina Nusantara University.

Fauzi advised women against wearing provocative clothing while riding public transportation — appalling activists, who arranged for a demonstration of miniskirted women at the Hotel Indonesia
traffic circle in protest. (yps)

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