Year-end wake up call for education on sexual harassment

Jakarta – As the year of 2018 is approaching, many families in the capital city of Indonesia are preparing to welcome it with celebrations.

Some chose to leave the ever-so-crowded city, while some prefer to stay. Either way, the new years holiday is often regarded as the momentum for people to take some time off their daily activities and for families to gather and share moments together.

The same applies to the family of AHP, who is a resident of the Northern part of the bustling city, however, this time around, instead of celebrating the coming of the new year, his family is drowned in deep sorrow as they mourn the passing of their 13-year-old daughter who died just days before the new year.

The late AM, second daughter of AHP and EO, had been hospitalized in Intensive Care Unit of the Koja Regional Public Hospital, North Jakarta for around two weeks before she exhaled her last breath.

It was revealed that AM was suffering from extremely severe depression that had led to a disability that stopped her from responding to conversations and opening her eyes, as revealed by Head of the National Child Protection Commission Aris Merdeka Sirait after paying AM a visit of November 18 in the hospital.

“She had entered a phase where she appeared as if she is in a coma due to her severe depression. It could also be seen that she had been biting on her lip to hold her emotions and stress,” he stated.

AMs condition was not one without a cause behind it. It was revealed that a year prior to her hospitalization, on December 19 2016, she had experienced a sexual assault by a perpetrator who had been identified as 18-year-old NRS.

NRS had been reported to the police, which then led to him being charged with the State Regulation Article 80 clause 1 Number 36 of 2014 about the Protection of Children and Article 281 of the Criminal Law.

Following the completion of the files, the case was then brought to Court and in May 2017, the North Jakarta District Court held the first trial where they brought together the perpetrator and the victim.

Sirait believed that there should not be a physical meeting between the under-aged victim and the harasser as it can inflict mental trauma towards the victim.

After a year had gone by, AM and her family still have not been to live peacefully as the North Jakarta District Court never sentenced NRS with the charges and punishment he deserved.

“According to the State Regulation on Child Protection, child sexual harassers should be sentenced no longer than 15 days, but in this case, even until the month of December, the judge still yet to make his sentence, which is such a shame,” he said.

Such condition had led to the stress and depression that was suffered by AM, which then peaked a few days before she was hospitalized.

Ferry Iriawan, who is AMs grandfather, said that she had been delirious and uttered incoherent words before she fell unconscious. Ever since the incident, he continued, AM had not been able to communicate well with her peers and was often seemed down and unenergetic.

During a conversation with ANTARA, AHP and EO, the victims parents, revealed that AM was a child full of passion.

“She had suffer from low-vision on one of her eyes, which means she could not see very well, so she would often trip or kicked a coffee mug that we up on the floor,” AHP reminisced.

“She was often bullied for her lack of vision, but it never stopped her from doing what she wanted. She was very fond of singing and so she was supposed to perform a song for me on her schools Mothers Day Assembly. She had told me to wear nice clothes and get front row seats because she had been exercising very diligently,” EO added.

Unfortunately, however, all of those hope has now gone as AM had lost her battle to severe depression she had suffered at such a young age.

A call for justice

According to the reports received by the National Commission for Child Protection, during the year of 2017, there were a total of 2,737 cases of child sexual abuse reported to the Commission.

The number indicated a decrease from last years which was recorded at 3,339.

Despite the decline in the number of cases, over 2,000 incidents involving underaged children still indicate a crisis in the society. Many children would have to grow up with such trauma that would affect their growth and ultimately, their adult life.

In a recent research published by the Australian Government, child sexual abuse had been linked to psychotic disorders including schizophrenia and delusional disorder, as well as personality disorders.

Traditionally, mental health effects that have been consistently associated in the research with child sexual abuse include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which include anxiety and flashbacks triggered by a traumatic event, depression, aggressive behaviour and substance abuse.

“At the most serious extreme of mental health problems, the findings related to suicide ideation, suicide attempts and actual suicides are of particular concern,” the report noted.

Such destructive effects is often more damaging than the incident itself. In AMs case, the abuse conducted by NRS a year ago had caused deep sadness to not only the victim but also to her family.

This case had revealed the long-term and permanent damage that the perpetrator can do with a seemingly impulsive action, thus, this should be a wake-up call for all parties related, including the government, authorities and institutions, to be more aware and take more serious and effective efforts to bring justice to the victims and prevent such incidents from happening in the future.

The nation is in urgent need for education towards sexual harassment and the painful effects that come with it. Effective punishment need to also be formulated so that it would impose a deterrent effect on the perpetrators.

Source: Antara News