Child abusers are often former victims, says police expert
The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
Among residents of Jl. Duren Bangka, Pancoran, South Jakarta, parking attendant Sakur, 34, was known as a kind-hearted man who liked to play and go fishing with local children. The South Jakarta police arrested Sakur in October on suspicion of raping 15 minors at and around his house.
Upon interrogation, Sakur revealed that he had himself been subject to sexual abuse as a child.
'When I was attacked, why didn't anyone arrest the perpetrator?' Sakur asked, as quoted by kompas.com in October.
Sakur is not the only suspect to claim to have suffered childhood abuse, according to Jakarta Police psychology division head and psychologist Adj. Sr. Comr. Hary Prasetya.
In 2014, the Sukabumi District Court in West Java found Andri Sobari alias Emon, 24, guilty of raping 110 children, sentencing him to 17 years in prison. Emon said he had been a victim of sexual violence in junior high school.
In September this year, the Kelapa Gading Police in North Jakarta arrested a motorcycle taxi driver, initials IW, 46, for allegedly abusing 10 children; he had, he said, been sexually abused when he was in the fourth grade of elementary school.
Also in September, the police detained Ismail or Andika, a mosque guard in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, for molesting 17 boys. Based on the investigation, the police acknowledged that Ismail had been prey to sexual abuse when he was in the first grade of elementary school.
Hary said that a great deal of police investigations into sexual abuse discovered that the perpetrator had also been a victim, though the police do not compile data on the subject.
According to Hary, most of the perpetrators in question had not received counseling, leading to unresolved trauma and subsequent deviant sexual behavior.
He emphasized, however, that not all perpetrators of child abuse were themselves former victims.
In some cases, he said, abusers suffered from a lack of confidence that rendered them unable to express their feelings, including sexual desire, to adults. They therefore channeled those feelings to children, with whom they felt less anxious.
Similarly, Hary stressed that not all victims of sexual abuse would go on to commit similar crimes.
'Humans are all different. Those who undergo similar experiences don't necessarily react in the same way. It depends on how they deal with the experience,' Hary said.
University of Indonesia sexuality and gender expert Irwan Hidayana expressed a similar view, advising the public not to jump to conclusions regarding victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse, as sexual behavior was a complex subject.
Sexual behavior, Irwan explained, could be affected by many factors, including addiction to pornography. He added that many sexual abuse victims were able to recover from their trauma and live a normal life after receiving proper care, such as trauma-healing therapy and counseling.
He called on parents to pay close attention to their children in order to be able to detect early on if they were being subjected to sexual abuse.
'[Abused] children often don't understand what's being done to them or what they're feeling. As a result, they become loners, unable to communicate with others,' Irwan said. 'Parental sensitivity is therefore extremely important to detect changes in children.'
He added that parents of children who had suffered abuse should immediately seek assistance from psychologists, psychiatrists or other experts to cure their children's trauma. (agn)
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