50% of Kids Victims of Sex Abuse, Group Says
Almost half of Indonesia’s children have fallen prey to instances of sexual harassment, according to a nongovernmental organization advocating children’s issues.
The National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas Anak) claimed on Tuesday that about 50 percent of the country’s 21 million children had been victims of such abuse, though the figure excluded children who did not report their cases to the authorities.
From January to April, Komnas Anak received 127 reports of child abuse in the Greater Jakarta area alone.
Arist Merdeka Sirait, the chairman of the commission, noted that East Jakarta had become the most unsafe area for children in the capital, having recorded the most cases of sexual harassment.
Komnas Anak said that 51 percent, or 67 reports, came from East Jakarta. Last year, the NGO received 2,637 reports on child abuse in Greater Jakarta, with 190 cases originating from East Jakarta.
“Jakarta had the highest instances [of sexual abuse cases] in 2012, with 663. East Jakarta is the most prone to sexual abuse against minors,” Arist said at his office in Jakarta.
He attributed the high rate of violence against children in East Jakarta to the area’s population density. He also said that about 80 percent of East Jakarta residents were in the medium to low income bracket.
“Low education level is also one of the factors,” Arist added.
The chairman praised the East Jakarta Police for their quick response and follow-up to every report they received.
“My hope is that the police will continue to solve all cases of sexual harassment against children in accordance with the law so that there can be a deterrent effect,” he said.
He cited the three East Jakarta areas that were most unfriendly to children as Kramat Jati, Ciracas and Cakung.
Arist also lamented First Lady Ani Yudhoyono’s lack of initiative to become an icon and defender of Indonesian children like Michelle Obama, the first lady of the United States, or Queen Elizabeth II, who he said always met with children from underprivileged families each time they visited another country.
“They always visit the poor people. The first lady should become an icon for the people, especially for children, because sexual crimes should be fought by not only one institution. It’s a common concern that needs to be fought together,” Arist said.
Neither the high number of cases of violence against children this year nor the declaration of 2013 as a year of national emergency over child sex abuse has prompted the first lady into action, he added.
Arist said that having such an icon was important for Indonesian children and society at large.
“There needs to be an icon. The first lady should have had the initiative to become the icon,” he said.
Given the first lady’s lack of initiative, Komnas Anak said it had decided to ask Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo to promote awareness about sexual violence against children.
On April 21, which coincides with Kartini Day, or National Women’s Day, Joko, along with Komnas Anak and other activist groups, will campaign to promote an end to violence against children in Jakarta.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
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Jakarta Globe via The Religion of Peace.