Katharina Reny Lestari – A court in Indonesia's Lampung province has sentenced a religious teacher to 10 years in prison for raping a 15-year-old student at a state-run school.
Hafidz Mulky, 28, was convicted on June 15 at Tanjung Karang District Court, which also ordered him to pay a fine of 100 million rupiah (US$6,780) or risk another six months in prison.
The crimes took place on March 7 and 10 at the school. Mulky threatened to drop the victim out of school if she told others about his crimes. However, the girl and her family decided to file a police report, which led to his arrest.
The sentence was lighter than demanded by prosecutors who sought 12 years in prison.
Albertus Doni Koesoema, a Catholic layman and an education analyst, told UCA News that "a power of culture" contributed to such crimes.
"Many teachers often make use of their social status. They can easily force their students to do what they want. If their students reject it, they can threaten them to, for example, give bad grades. This is an abuse of power," he said.
He also lamented the lack of a proper recruitment process for teachers.
"Teachers should be healthy both physically and psychologically and must have adequate teaching skills. Also, every teacher should go through a certain test before starting to teach their students, aiming to show whether or not they are potential pedophiles," he said.
"This is important to save students and must be implemented in all schools."
Based on the existing regulations, every school should form a special team to prevent sexual abuse, he added.
"But it does not work. There is a lack of introduction and a training program. As a result, many schools do not have such a team and a proper mechanism on how to file reports of sexual abuse," Koesoema said.
In April, a 39-year-old Quran teacher, who is also a father of three, was charged with raping at least 12 boys aged 10-11 over a five-year period at an Islamic boarding school in West Java province.
Earlier that month, Herry Wirawan, a 36-year-old teacher at an Islamic boarding school in Bandung, also in West Java, was sentenced to death by Bandung High Court for raping 13 female underage students, eight of whom he made pregnant.
The Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry recorded 10,247 cases against women and 14,517 cases against children in 2021. Of these figures, 15.2 percent and 45.1 percent were sexually motivated.
Many cases often went unreported and were looked on as a private affair.