Jakarta Police Cast Wider Net in Child Sexual Abuse Case at School

Jakarta. Police are looking into the possibility that more children might have faced sexual violence at the Jakarta International School, where a 6-year-old was allegedly raped last month. The investigation will also be expanded to look at the possible involvement of other members of the janitorial staff. “We are now reviewing the behavior of other staff members there [at the school]. We are investigating the possibility of more victims,” Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said on Tuesday.

Police have named three people, including a woman, as suspects for the alleged sexual assault of the boy in the school’s South Jakarta campus. “Two suspects, A.G. and V.I. alias Awan, have been detained. A woman [with the initials A.F.] is not yet in police custody, but has been named a suspect,” Rikmanto said, adding that A.F. is wanted for allegedly having known about the incident but not reporting it.

“The woman is still considered a  suspect. She knew about it, she condoned it and failed to step forward,” he said. In addition to a confession, laboratory tests by police reportedly confirmed that the two male suspects had committed the alleged offense.

“Both eventually admitted to have assaulted the child on March 20 in the  school’s  bathroom,” Rikwanto said.

Rikwanto said investigators will continue to question the suspects on the possible involvement of additional perpetrators. “[The interrogation] is being dealt with. We are also hoping this child can recall [the incident]. We will help jog his memory with a reconstruction,” he said.

Rikwanto added that the perpetrators likely suffered from psychological problems. “The suspects are restroom cleaners. They [may] have a psychological illness. Every day they see male and female  students wash their hands or use the toilet. These type of criminals often choose their victims; they target those whom they can easily trick,” Rikwanto said. But he said that investigators were still unable to establish the chronology of the incident because the boy was struggling to tell the story.

“He uses children’s language. We will continue to gently coax him to remember the details. We will try to make him more comfortable,” he said.

School’s responsibility

The Indonesian Commission for Children Protection (KPAI) approached the school to ask for some form of responsibility over the incident. KPAI chairman Asrorun Ni’am Sholeh said the commission visited the Jakarta International School campus for further information related to the case. “We’ve received information from  the [KPAI] secretary related to the matter, but we still need to clarify a few issues,” Asrorun said, adding that the commission had also asked about the school’s teaching and training process.

“Training is an integral part of any company, not just a school; it involves the cleaning service, school administration, library staff and so on.  “They all have an important role in an educational institution.” KPAI said it was taking measures to help the young victim cope and begin to recover from the traumatic event. “We need to immediately deal with the boy’s physical and psychological recovery. Post-traumatic stress syndrome can be  extremely debilitating. The school should also play a part in his recovery,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Jakarta International School has not released any statements regarding the case, though it has beefed up security surrounding its Pondok Indah and Cilandak campuses, denying entrance to reporters.

Inner circle

Sexual predators do not wait for victims in dark alleys, experts and activists say. Perpetrators are often close to the victims, particularly family members.

“This is nothing new; children have long been the victims of sexual violence by  people they know. More and more incidents are only now being reported,” said Vitria Lazzarini, coordinator of Yayasan  Pulih, a foundation offering psychological assistance for victims of sexual assault. The victims’ age range also varies, according to Yayasan Pulih, which recently received a report of the molestation of a  22-month old infant by a family member.

“Cases such as these are particularly disturbing. The home is supposed to be a child’s safe haven; not a place of fear,”  Vitria said during a victim’s account forum at the University of Indonesia. Children who fall victim to sexual  violence often experience a delayed  response, while some deny the abuse as they are unable to understand what they experienced.

During UI’s survivors’ accounts forum, a  participant confessed that she was raped by her uncle in her own home when she was 5 years old. She admitted she was too young to understand the meaning or concept of rape and only realized as a teenager that what her uncle had done to her was not only a crime, but a horrific violation. 

“The [psychological] impact on adults who realized they were victims of rape as a child is significant, especially in communities where virginity is greatly valued. They start to feel impure and worthless, pushing them down a spiral of depression, and, in some cases, suicide,” she said.

Cases of sexual abuse are often kept secret as they become a blight of shame on families. “If this is condoned, the abuse will  continue to occur because there are no sanction for the perpetrators,” she said.

Vitria called on parents to start sexual education at a young age by teaching children the sanctity of their bodies.

“Aside from reminding children to be careful with strangers, they should also be taught which parts of their bodies cannot, by all means, be touched by others, including their own parents,” she said. “Not only girls will benefit from this;  reports of sexual abuse toward boys are  increasing.”

Vitria emphasized that if children still suffer from assault despite measures to prevent it, parents should not blame themselves. “Remember, the perpetrators are to blame,” she said.

Suspicious behavior

To prevent any forms of sexual abuse against kindergarten and playgroup students, the Jakarta Education Agency sent a circular to schools advising them to improve security measures that may detect suspicious behavior in both staff and students.

“To prevent minors from falling victim to sexual abuse in school, we  issued a  circular that was sent out to kindergartens and playgroups in Jakarta so that they can seriously improve security. The notification will help [detect]  indications that can be prevented as early as possible,” Jakarta Education head Lasro Marbun said.

Data from the Jakarta Education Agency showed 3,854 kindergartens and playgroups currently operate in Jakarta, with 175 being state run and the rest privately owned. In addition to increasing security around campuses, Lasro also emphasized the continuous improvement of school management, particularly the human resources department, in their ability to  select and supervise their employees.

“School employees, including teachers must be constantly monitored to ensure every inch of the campus is under management supervision.  “All of this is to prevent such a case from recurring in any school, whether it be  international or run by the government,” he said.

Lasro was shocked by the incident at the Jakarta International School. “Such an offense cannot be tolerated. The school has to apologize to the child’s parents and immediately bring the perpetrators to the authorities who will bring them to justice,” Lasro said. “The victim should be given the appropriate help him so he may overcome psychological trauma.”

He added that the Jakarta Education Agency was unable to intervene in the case because JIS falls under the supervision of the National Education Ministry.

“Unfortunately, we are unable to take any action against the school. It [JIS] does not fall under our authority,” he said. Lasro hoped the education ministry would take immediate actions in not only helping the boy, but in protecting Jakarta International School’s large population of students as well. “We hope the National Education  Ministry understands the severity of what has happened. They must do everything in their power to prevent such a horrible  incident from happening again,” he said.

According to the latest reports from the capital’s women and children’s empowerment integrated service centers, or P2TP2A, reported cases of violence against women and children surged by 40 percent between 2012 and 2013.

East Jakarta recorded the most cases with 31 percent, followed by Central Jakarta with 18 percent, while 15 percent of all cases were reported in both West Jakarta and North Jakarta. Seven percent were reported in the Thousand Islands district.

Margaretha Hanita, chairwoman of the the P2TP2A, said the reported number of women and children facing violence continued to rise, with 468 reported cases last year, up from 325 in 2012 and 251 in 2011. The figures may have risen due to risen efforts to make reporting easier, such as sexual violence website kekerasanseksual.komnasperempuan.or.id, created by the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) to help authorities protect survivors and bring perpetrators to justice. Such cases remain likely to go unreported.

  • billy

    unfortunately these crimes excist everywere….
    the poor children are the ones that suffer, from sick minds of adults that should be able to control themselves!!!!
    the persons involved in this should and i hope get a good long prison sentence and some kind of treatment before they are allowed to go free in society again…

    I have seen this before, in europe in a school, the persons involved usually have planned what they do, and are very sneaky!!!
    therefore fry these criminals to the highest extent!!!!!!!

  • Tuyul

    PT ISS Indonesia in Bintaro. They only released statement today and refuse to take any responsibility on this case, stating that it was each individuals perpetrators act NOT the company’s. But again, who hired these monsters in the first place? Duh!

    • Alecso

      i just know they didn’t use psychology test for recruitment

      • Tuyul

        Paedophilia is NOT a psychological illness or issues. When a person become a paedophile that because he CHOOSE to be one. Paedophilia is a discrimination crime against children, where the perpetrators use childrens’ vulnerability to satisfy their sexual desire. If Paedophilia is classified as psychological illness then it will become harder to crack it down and to severely punish those who commit such horrifying acts.

        • Max Headroom

          Tuyul – while I do absolutely agree on your distaste for paedophiles I understand that it is generally classified as a psychological disorder. Who in their right mind would have sexual attraction to children if not for somebody with a deeply disturbed sexual drive.
          What you describe further up, the superior feeling over the child is just a terrible side effect of this psychological disorder. Of course these pedophiles will try with any available means to get in contact with adolescents to satisfy their absurd sexual desires.

          Actually I tried to inform myself a bit further after your reply and read the according Wikipedia page about this syndrome. So if you have any other sources contrary to Wikipedia please post it.

  • Tuyul

    Only two hours ago, that’s right! What took them so long? And guess what? They will assist the police investigation but NOT apologising to the victim’s family and to make matter worse, they didn’t offer any counselling towards the poor child. Hmmm… Where the heck all those school fees gone?

    • Mari

      I go to this school, and we were told that since JIS has not finished investigating the case they can’t make a statement.

    • mrlogic

      Tuyul, why don’t you direct your anger at the disgusting people who did this?

      • Tuyul

        Logically if incident such as this could be prevented by the school then those disgusting people wouldn’t have done it. For example : How can a 5 years old wondered around to the toilet by himself without a teacher assistance? Most importantly why didn’t the school have Kindy rooms their own ensuite so not having them share with (presumably) older students, which could avoid any bullying from older students to the Youngs ones during recess??? Excuse us, if the school has set up their building accordingly as to restrict any unwanted behaviour, this wouldn’t have happened. Most importantly is it illegal for the school to show their compassion on media by making statement as soon as the news made the headline? I understand there are guidelines for such situations but by GOD show some sympathy to the poor child and family! As for the perpetrators, lock them away and throw away the keys, let them rot in jail forever!!!

      • Tuyul

        Scroll up and read…

  • Tuyul

    There is a petition on Change.com in regards making prison term more severe for Paedophiles in Indonesia. Currently they could be released after spending between 5 to 10 years in jail. So, if they are in their 20′s now, they’ll be out when they are 30 something and I suppose they’ll do it again? If the Indonesia Government so worried about the danger of Narcotics influence on their people that anyone caught with it are sentenced so severely, can they tell us a good reason why Paedophiles is any different than Narcotics? Those 2 things are just as evil as each other! How can parents protect their children if the government don’t back them up? Minimum life imprisonment and maximum death penalty for Paedophiles is the right thing to do!!!

    • Max Headroom

      Maybe not the death penalty – but as other countries are doing it there should be a data-base accessible for everyone in which parents can check if convicted and already released paedophiles are living in their area, meaning that paedophiles have to stay in contact with law enforcement even after their release and have to report every change of their stay to them. If not, additional imprisonment should be applied. Plus medication should be supplied which suppresses their sick desires.

      • Tuyul

        There were too many cases of Paedophiles who not only raped their victims but also brutally murdered them too. That’s why I said Death Penalty for Paedophiles is essential especially those who cause death. Please don’t relate Paedophiles to “Psychological Issues”. Paedophilia is a discrimination crime against children. Those who are Paedophiles has CHOSEN to be one, because of they sexual preference. The reason they engaged in sexual act with children because they know that children are vulnerable. This also can be classified as “Power Play” Crime. Paedophiles are really hard to track down, with the advance technology such as Web chat rooms etc, these criminals continue to commit their crime behind computer screens using false I.D and even disposable mobile phones, credit cards and computers. Once again, PLEASE DO NOT classify paedophilia as psychological issues. Paedophiles ARE NOT mentally ill, they are CRIMINALS who are out there to discriminate children by using them to satisfy their sexual desire!!!

    • Mar

      I disagree. The minimum should be the death penalty. Only this may have some small chance of deterring other potential Paedophiles.

  • navnit

    all these snobbish schools charging exorbitant fees need to be made more responsive. the administration and the management of the school must get penalized to set an example for the others . the government should not cancel the license however put a financial penalty. a certain large %age of the tuition fee on each student enrolled at JIS should go to the free education of under privileged children

    • Stephen Fry

      Absolute rubbish. Education is the responsibility of the government who, in the case of Indonesia, have robbed the budget year in year out and deprived their nation’s children of even the most basic of educations. Suggesting that private educational facilities are snobbish and should take care of funding the appalling public education system is downright ridiculous.

  • Mark Longstreath

    These people should be put down like the animals they are. Prison is a waste of time and money for them.

  • jakartaexpat

    Teachers did not bring this to light! Where did you read this? The parents of the poor boy did after waiting for weeks for the school to act. And they faced problems from the school and other parents for doing this. Check your facts before you give credit where it is not due!

  • jakartaexpat

    Teachers have a DUTY to report even the slightest suspicion of child abuse/neglect in their classrooms and schools. The boy’s teacher did no such thing and deserves no respect.