Students at a junior high school in the Wonogiri Regency of Central Java came out in the dozens to demand the resignation of one of the school's teachers, who allegedly sexually harassed a student in class.
As reported by Solopos, on Saturday (Indonesian students attend school six days per week) the student left their classrooms to protest against an English teacher, identified by his initials HM, who allegedly grabbed a seventh grader's breasts in front of her classmates as punishment for not doing her work. Videos of the protest have gone viral.
Two local police officers were called to the scene to alleviate the conflict. The police said the students were peaceful in their protest and eventually returned to their respective classrooms.
That said, there have been no formal report of sexual harassment from the alleged victim to the local police thus far.
Martono, the school's principal, confirmed that the protest was in relation to HM's alleged sexual harassment of a student, but said that HM has denied the accusation. The matter is now being investigated by the Wonogiri Education Board.
Considering how sexual harassment cases are often ignored by Indonesian law enforcement, seeing so many woke kids exercising their rights to defend their classmate certainly fills us with hope.
Last year, a woman in Depok, West Java was walking alone when a man on a motorcycle groped her breast before driving away. When she spoke to us, she said police investigation into the case progressed quickly only after she shared video of the incident online and it went viral.
While the coverage of and attention paid to cases of sexual violence is improving in Indonesia to some degree, a culture of stigmatization and victim blaming still keeps the country's epidemic of sexual violence largely hidden from the public.
A bill to curb sexual violence, which defines the different forms of sexual violence and sets out the responsibilities of the State in dealing with those cases, has stalled in parliament due to its recognition of violence between same-sex partners.
Crucially, the bill provides for the protection of victims and witnesses, increases their access to legal solutions, recovery and reparation mechanisms for the victim and rehabilitation of the offender.