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Jakarta Post

High-achieving UII student to be stripped of honors after 30 women report him for alleged sexual abuse

  • Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Thu, May 7, 2020   /   08:27 am
High-achieving UII student to be stripped of honors after 30 women report him for alleged sexual abuse The legal counselors of the women said the alleged abuse had gone on for years. "The survivors reported that they experienced the sexual abuse between 2016 and 2020," LBH Yogyakarta deputy director Meila Nurul Fajriah told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. (Shutterstock/File)

As many as 30 female students from the Indonesian Islamic University (UII) in Yogyakarta have come forward and reported IM, an alumni of the school, to the Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Yogyakarta) for alleged sexual abuse.

IM, who graduated from UII’s school of architecture, is currently studying for a master’s degree at the University of Melbourne in Australia.

In response to the reports, UII plans to strip IM of the honors he received for his high academic achievements, UII spokeswoman Ratna Permata Sari said.

Read also: Sexual abuse on campus: 174 survivors across Indonesia speak up

The university is also providing psychological counseling for the women, said Syarif Nurhidayat of UII's Law and Ethics Bureau.

The legal counselors of the women said the alleged abuse had gone on for years. "The survivors reported that they experienced the sexual abuse between 2016 and 2020," LBH Yogyakarta deputy director Meila Nurul Fajriah told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

According to reports received by LBH Yogyakarta, IM allegedly committed acts of sexual abuse while studying at the university, and allegedly continued to harass women via social media after graduating and continuing his studies in Australia.

IM was known as a popular student on the campus because of academic achievements and for speaking on religious matters at various discussions.

"There were various patterns to the way he sexually harassed and abused his victims. We have identified four common patterns," Meila said.

The first pattern, Meila said, was by communicating via Instagram. IM, Meila said, would begin by initiating a conversation with his victims under the guise of trying to motivate them to succeed in their studies. IM would later take the conversation in a sexual direction.

The second pattern was by video call, in which IM would allegedly expose his genitalia to the victim as soon as she answered the call.

He also reportedly lured in women by selling IELTS and TOEFL practice books and asking them to pay with cash on delivery, before inviting the women to his dorm where he would engage in inappropriate and unwanted physical contact, such as hugging them from behind.

He also allegedly used force to assault his victims, such as by grabbing their thighs or forcing them to kiss him.

Meila said the majority of his victims were his juniors on his campus, who idolized him because of his achievements.

"We recognized there was a power imbalance in these relationships. IM used his influence and his gentle persona to manipulate his victims into trusting him," she said.

She said none of the women had reported their cases to the police.

"The survivors only want IM to acknowledge his wrongdoings, and demand institutions, communities and organizations stop putting him in the spotlight, including UII. They also want the university to create regulations on sexual abuse prevention on campus," Melia continued, adding that LBH Yogyakarta was already conducting an investigation into the case should the women want to take legal action.

Of the 30 reports received by LBH Yogyakarta, some of the women had submitted their reports to @UIIBergerak, the university's antisexual abuse campaign on Instagram, as well as to Instagram user @fasyateixera. Some students also reported IM directly to the university's Law and Ethics Bureau.

IM responded to the allegations via Instagram, stating he been wrongly accused and that he forgave those who had accused. He hand wrote a three-page "clarification letter" and published photographs of each page on his account and also shared a picture of his work desk where the letter was placed near a string of tasbih (prayer beads).

"To all my good friends who had have participated in this slander against me, I have already forgiven you before you have realized your mistakes. What happened to me today is the fate that Allah has given me," he wrote in the letter.

He said he wanted to meet with those "who felt disadvantaged" by him to settle the matter properly.

Through the #NamaBaikKampus (Campus Reputation) campaign last year, in collaboration with Tirto.id and VICE Indonesia, The Jakarta Post received 174 testimonies from survivors of sexual abuse from 79 state, private and religious-based universities in 29 cities across the country. Roughly half of the survivors said they did not report the sexual abuse to anyone (dpk/evi)