Childhood victims struggle to report sexual abuse in Catholic Church

The Jakarta Post

July 28, 2020

By Ivany Atina Arbi, Evi Mariani and Dwi Atmanta

Twenty-seven years ago, an 11-year-old girl knelt beside a priest in a mandatory confession organized by her Catholic school in Jakarta. She told the priest her sin: disobeying her parents. As he spoke the absolution, the girl felt his hands touching her body.

The confession lasted five minutes and did not take place in a traditional partitioned confessional. Twice a year, the school arranged the event, usually before Christmas and Easter, and brought dozens of school children to a special confession space in a chapel, where there was no partition to separate the child and the priest.

“I felt uneasy and knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t tell what was off,” said the former student of Sang Timur Catholic elementary school, which is located next to the the Maria Bunda Karmel (MBK) Church.

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