Teenage Girl Expelled from Depok School After Alleged Rape, Mom Says

By webadmin on 04:40 pm Oct 08, 2012
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Vento Saudale, Dessy Sagita & Camelia Pasandaran

[Updated on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012]

A rape
victim was excoriated by her principal and expelled from her Depok
school on Monday, setting off a wave of condemnation from
child-protection activists.

According to the 14-year-old
victim’s mother, the daughter returned to Budi Utomo Junior High School
and was told to pack her bags by principal Renata Parhusip. The
humiliating incident took place in front of a crowd of students and
teachers during a flag-raising ceremony.

But a school official disputed the expulsion claim, saying there had been a “misunderstanding.”

Monday
was the student’s first day back at school after she was kidnapped and
raped last month. Since the ordeal, she has undergone psychological and
physical rehabilitation as well as police questioning.

“The
principal said she must resign [from the school] because the school does
not accept trafficking victims,” the mother said. “I fought hard to
persuade my daughter to go back to school and when she finally did, she
was humiliated like this.”

The Jakarta Globe has declined to publish the names of the mother or child in order to protect the victim’s identity.

The
mother added that school officials have been insensitive toward her
daughter’s physical and mental trauma as well as personal future.

“I just want justice,” she said. “Don’t let our child be victimized again.”

Arist
Merdeka Sirait, chairman of the National Commission for Child
Protection (Komnas Anak), said the school was wrong to expel the victim
from the school, let alone make an announcement about it in front of her
friends.

“Schools must protect underage victims of crime,” he
said. “Children have a right to education. [She] has a right to continue
her education.”

Prior to her return, the victim was last seen
by her family on Sept. 23 when she told her parents that she was going
to church. The parents filed a missing person’s report with the police
the next day.

She later told the police that she was kidnapped
and raped by someone she had met on Facebook, a 20-year-old public
minivan driver.

The driver, she said, tried to sell her to a
trafficking ring to become a sex worker in Batam, Riau Islands. He
reportedly let the teenager go after learning that police were looking
for her. He dropped her off at the Depok train station.

The
school, Arist said, should have used the incident as an example, and
warned other students about the dangers of meeting with strangers. “But
instead the school overreacted in an inhumane way,” he said.

Arist
said his office would lodge a complaint against the school to the
Ministry of Education and asked the school to reverse the expulsion.

“We
protest and demand an explanation,” he said. “If within three days they
don’t respond to our protest, we shall report the incident to the
Education Ministry. We will recommend the ministry review the school’s
permit for violating the Child Protection Law. [The school] could face
administrative sanctions.”

A Budi Utomo official named Ratna disputed the mother’s version of events, calling the situation a “misunderstanding.”

“[The
victim] has not been expelled,” she told to BeritaSatu.com, Jakarta
Globe’s sister outlet. “It is just a misunderstanding. Have the parent
come [to the school] instead of talking to the media.”