National

KPAI calls for sex education
amid continuing reports
of child rape

The Indonesian Commission on Child Protection (KPAI) has urged the government and the House of Representatives to pass regulations that will allow for sex education for children at schools to prevent them from sexual assault.

The KPAI blamed rampant cases of sexual abuse on children’s lack of basic knowledge about sex.

The commission said the lack of knowledge had made children prone to sexual abuse committed by individuals close to them, including family members or teachers.

Speaking before lawmakers from the House of Representatives Commission VIII on religious and social affairs on Tuesday, KPAI member Apong Herlina said that basic knowledge included parts of children’s bodies that should be off-limits to others.

“We recently found a case in Central Java where a boy sodomized 22 of his peers with whom he took a daily bath in a nearby river. Sex education for children is urgent. We must teach our children to be responsible about their sexuality so that they will have the courage to deter those with negative intentions. Many children don’t know about this,” Aping said.

During Tuesday’s hearing with Commission VIII, the KPAI revealed that it had received 87 reports of rape against children last year. The commission also compiled 244 media reports on child rape between January and October 2011.

The KPAI said that the actual number could be higher, as families tended not to report rape cases to the police out of shame.

Some cases of sexual assaults against children that were reported to the KPAI included a boy in Jakarta who was raped by his teacher.

The KPAI also recorded that similar cases had occurred in Central and East Java, where some of the perpetrators were already sentenced to jail.

In its report to Commission VIII, the KPAI highlighted rape as one of the most dangerous threats to Indonesian children today.

Children are more prone to rape partly due to the growing power of the Internet. Other problems afflicting children include drug abuse, pornography, human trafficking and bullying in schools.

The KPAI said that proper sex education would not expose children to pornography.

“The public and the government must understand that sex education will not encourage children to have sex. People still mistake knowledge of sex with a guide to sexual intercourse. This is why many still think that sex education is opening up the taboo in our society,” KPAI commissioner Maria Ulfah said.

”Adults are responsible for the increasing number of rapes against our children. Children having proper knowledge about their sexual reproduction will protect them from assaults by family members, teachers, peers, as well as strangers,” she added.

Education and Culture Minister Mohammad Nuh had previously rejected a proposal for sex education, arguing that speaking about sex in public contradicted the country’s local traditions and could promote indecency among Indonesia’s youth.

KPAI chairperson Badriyah Fayumi warned that the government’s rejection of providing sex education would drive children to improper sources, including the Internet.

“Proper education on sex will also help children decide which sources of information can be trusted,” she said.

Commission VIII deputy chief Chairunissa said although she endorsed the discussion of sex in families, she doubted whether schools in the country would adopt it. “The term ‘sex education’ is problematic. We must find something else to name the program. Nonetheless, I agree that it’s necessary to educate our children about it, to protect them,” the Golkar Party lawmaker said.

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