Depok School Reverses Decision to Expel 14-Year-Old Rape Victim
Dessy Sagita & Vento Saudale
Following mediation between a private high school and the family of a student victim of kidnap and rape who was expelled for having “sullied the good name of the school,” on Tuesday the school walked back its decision and allowed her to return to the classroom.
However, National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas Anak) chairman Arist Merdeka Sirait, who took part in the mediation talks, said that despite the decision, the school would still need to rehabilitate the good name of the victim.
“Even though the discharge has been annulled, the school must return the spirit of the child [in order for her] to return to her studies and should announce to the other students that this child is the victim and not the criminal, as had been announced during a flag-raising ceremony there,” Arist said.
According to the girl’s mother, Principal Renata Parhusip
humiliated her daughter in front of a crowd of students and
teachers during a flag-raising ceremony on her first day back to school following the ordeal.
The commission and the victim’s parents strongly protested the decision of Budi Utomo Junior High School to discharge the 14-year-old, who late last month was allegedly kidnapped and raped by a man she met on the social networking website Facebook.
Public indignation over the school’s decision forced Budi Utomo to accept mediation by the local education office. Siti Chaerijah, the head of the high school and vocation school divisions of the Depok Education Office, said the meeting was held behind closed doors and involved the provincial and municipal education offices, Komnas Anak, the headmaster of Budi Utomo, the social affairs office and the victim’s family.
The girl had told her parents she was going to church on Sept. 23, but she failed to return home that day, nor in the days that followed. Her parents reported her missing on Sept. 26.
On Sept. 30, a public transport driver named Catur, who had befriended her on Facebook and then allegedly kidnapped and raped her, released the victim at a train station in Depok.
The school on Monday announced that she was expelled because “she had embarrassed the school and sullied the good name of the school.”
Arist said the child was suffering from depression and needed help gaining back her confidence and returning to her studies.
“The school should make sure that the condition in her class is conducive and she is no longer seen as a criminal,” he said.
BeritaSatu & JG