May 14, 2014
Indonesia is launching a campaign to prevent sexual abuse of children, in the aftermath of disturbing cases announced in recent weeks.
"This is the time. We have to declare war against sexual violence, especially towards children," Asrorun Niam Sholeh, chairman of the Indonesian Commission on Child Protection (KPAI), said at the April 27th event in Jakarta.
Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection Linda Amalia Sari said the purpose of the campaign is to address increasing violent attacks.
"The perpetrators are usually people close to the victim, such as parents, husbands, family, teachers or other people who are responsible for providing protection," Linda said. "It requires courage from society to report violent cases."
Annually, according to KPAI, approximately 400 Indonesian children are sexually abused, with boys comprising the majority.
"Boys become vulnerable in becoming victims of sexual violence because they are easily persuaded by perpetrators who are paedophiles," said KPAI Secretary General Erlinda.
According to Erlinda, many cases result from lack of parental supervision. She said a key part of prevention involved communication between parents and children, as well as religious leaders.
"The provinces most prone to violence against children are Bali, Medan and West Nusa Tenggara," Erlinda said, noting the areas "are usually visited by local and international tourists".
Child psychologist Seto Mulyadi said a collective effort including the public, is needed to minimise cases.
"All levels of government, including the president, must take part. Any violence against children will destroy our nation."
Muslim scholar Muhammad Khaeruddin said Islam encourages the rights of all, especially children.
"I would advise parents to pay attention to all of our children so that we can fulfil the will of Allah and stay away from acts that deviate from the teachings of the Qur'an," he told Khabar. "This is a moral burden for every Muslim.
"Staying away from lust is the word of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and therefore we must also see the teachings to respect the rights of others including children as an order and not advice," the scholar said.