An 11-year-old girl who was believed to be in a coma after suffering repeated sexual assaults died at Persahabatan Hospital in East Jakarta on Sunday, as the nation’s child protection activists called on the police to investigate the case.
Priyanti Soepandi, the director of Persahabatan Hospital, told reporters that the doctors could not yet determine the cause of her death, only saying that the girl, who suffered severe vaginal and rectal injuries apparently due to repeated sexual assault, had likely died due to inflammation of the brain or encephalitis.
“We, however, are still trying to find out whether the encephalitis was caused by the injuries in her genital area. There is always a possibility that the wounds might have affected the functions of other organs.”
The girl’s body was transferred to Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital in Central Jakarta for autopsy, and Priyanti said a further diagnosis would be made by combining autopsy findings and the girl’s medical records from her treatment at the Persahabatan Hospital.
Her remains are currently at her house in Cakung, East Jakarta, and will be buried at Kapuk Cemetary in Bekasi, West Java.
The girl, identified only as RI, was a fifth grader and the youngest child of a scavenger couple. She was admitted to the hospital on Dec. 29 with a high fever and seizures, and had been in critical condition ever since.
RI first complained of pain in her armpit to her mother around three months ago and was brought to a community health center where she was diagnosed with a lymph node problem. RI, however, kept complaining of other pains after the visit and different doctors diagnosed her with other illnesses, such as typhoid fever and a stomach ulcer, before she eventually collapsed at the end of last year.
Priyanti said that doctors at Persahabatan Hospital discovered severe injuries to the girl’s vagina and rectum when they were about to give her medicine for her seizures. The wounds, Priyanti said, were probably caused by “a forcefully inserted blunt object”.
The girl’s mother said that her daughter had experienced vaginal bleeding for the past two months but refused to disclose what had happened. She also said that her daughter’s classmates told her a teacher at their school in Pulo Gebang, often acted inappropriately toward students, including her daughter.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said the police would wait for the autopsy results and a medical report from Persahabatan Hospital to start an investigation and added that East Jakarta Police had summoned four of RI’s neighbors for questioning.
Arist Merdeka Sirait, chairman of the National Commission for Child Protection, said that police were sluggish in handling the case.
“The girl has died, but the investigation of the case has to go on.” (aml/fzm)