Suherdjoko, The Jakarta Post, Semarang
A UNICEF-sponsored survey in Semarang, Central Java, found that close relatives and school teachers are responsible for most instances of child abuse.
The survey found there were seven main types of mistreatment committed by family members against children.
These included scolding, which accounted for 85.3 percent of cases, beating (72.8 percent), whipping (71 percent), tying up (61.9 percent), verbal abuse (61.2 percent) and confinement in the bathroom (60.4 percent).
Children were also subjected to abuse in school.
"Teachers acknowledged they often punish their pupils by scolding them in front of their peers (80.5 percent), forcing them to stand in front of the class (56.8 percent) and requiring them to write down lines (53.2 percent)," Agapitus Prasetya of the United Nations Children's Fund said Wednesday.
He said the survey was jointly conducted with Atma Jaya University in Jakarta. It involved 344 respondents, ranging in age from young children to 18-year-olds in Semarang city and regency.
The survey was conducted from January to March, 2006.
According to respondents, teachers were involved in the majority of cases of child abuse.
"School teachers accounted for most of the abusers, punishing their pupils by making them stand in front of the class, do push-ups, run laps, stand in the sun and by scolding them," said Agapitus.
The number of physical abuse cases encountered by children in the two regions was seen as significant. Topping the list of these cases was pinching, making up 89.5 percent of cases, followed by ear-pulling (71.5 percent) and hitting/whipping (71.5 percent).
Other forms of physical abuse included hair shaving, which accounted for 3.5 percent of cases, beating (5.2 percent), choking (13.4 percent) and confinement to the bathroom (14 percent).
The survey also showed female students were most likely to be subjected to sexual abuse. It categorized seven types of sexual abuse, from touching (37.5 percent), skirt-pulling (9.6 percent), forced kissing (7.8 percent), thigh groping (7.3 percent), genitalia fondling (5.5 percent) and breast fondling (5.5 percent).
Agapitus said abuse could cause physical harm, phobias, anxiety, distress, aggressiveness, delinquency, post-traumatic stress and sexual obsession.
In sexual abuse cases such as rape, it can take dozens of years for children to recover, while in an abuse case in which a child's ear is pulled, he or she could suffer trauma for months.
"Actually, there is a way to avoid violence in school, such as involving the students in defining the school's rules," said Agapitus.
A father of three in Semarang, Yudi, expressed confusion over the survey. "If my children are too naughty, I pinch them, or they'll become naughtier. It's in line with bringing up children and does not, I believe, constitute abuse," he said.