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Jakarta Post

UII students disappointed at clearing of former student accused of sexual abuse

  • Rizki Fachriansyah
    Rizki Fachriansyah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, August 4, 2020   /   08:52 am
UII students disappointed at clearing of former student accused of sexual abuse Two women accused Ibrahim of sexually harassing them in Melbourne, and dozens more in Indonesia have made similar allegations. (Shutterstock/Doidam 10)

Several students of the Indonesian Islamic University (UII) in Yogyakarta have expressed disappointment over the news that former student Ibrahim Malik, who had been accused of sexual assault at home and abroad, has been found to have not breached any policies of the University of Melbourne in Australia where he is currently pursuing his master’s degree under a prestigious scholarship.

Rizaldi Ageng Wicaksono, a member of the UII Bergerak student movement, said the University of Melbourne’s response added to the pain experienced by the women who claim to have been sexually harassed by Ibrahim, both in Melbourne and Yogyakarta.

He said the Melbourne finding would lead to a lack of legal impetus to further investigate the alleged crimes in Indonesia.

“This is partly because we lack a specific legal umbrella under which we otherwise might be able to resolve the case,” Rizaldi told The Jakarta Post during a phone interview on Sunday.

He went on to say that the case served to demonstrate the urgency for the sexual violence eradication bill, which has been excluded from this year’s National Legislation Program (Prolegnas) priority list.

“It’s all about bureaucracy,” Rizaldi added.

Fellow UII Bergerak member Sabiq Muhammad said the women who had come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Ibrahim were “shocked” to hear that Ibrahim had been cleared.

“Both the UII and the University of Melbourne have shown little to no transparency in their handling of the case,” Sabiq told the Post.

“As students, we will keep campaigning for a legal umbrella for sexual violence in the country.”

Read also: Childhood victims struggle to report sexual abuse in Catholic Church

The University of Melbourne previously appointed an external investigator to examine the allegations against Ibrahim after a woman submitted a formal complaint under the University’s Student Conduct Policy process and a second woman made similar accusations against him but did not make a formal report.

However, a representative of the university said on Friday that the investigator found that Ibrahim "did not breach any university policies or code of conduct and there was insufficient evidence that he acted unlawfully, following harassment allegations being made against the student that date back to 2018 and 2019."

“The allegations did not involve any physical contact.”

The two women had accused Ibrahim of sexually harassing them in Melbourne, and dozens more in Indonesia have made similar allegations.

Fasya Addina Teixeira – a former UII student who has kept in touch with the alleged victims in Yogyakarta – similarly expressed her disappointment regarding the University of Melbourne’s response, saying that sexual harassment that did not take physical form was nevertheless a form of abuse.

“The University of Melbourne apparently only counts something as sexual harassment when it’s [physically perpetrated],” she said.

“It clearly strays from the definition of sexual harassment as stipulated by UN Women [the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women].”

Ibrahim, who graduated from the UII school of architecture, is currently studying for a master’s degree at the University of Melbourne under a prestigious scholarship. He was at the center of sexual abuse allegations raised by at least 30 female UII students who reported him to the Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute.