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28 May 2013

Sex crimes against underage girls in Timor-Leste cause high school drop-outs

Timor-Leste Anti Sexual Violence poster
Anti Sexual-Violence Poster
ETLJB 228 May 2013 - 79% of young girls who suffered sexual violence in Timor-Leste are forced to abandon their school, according to the results of a survey from a local NGO, according to a report in Jornal Independente pubished on 17 May 2013.

Jornal Independente cited the Director of Rede Feto (Women's Network), Jacinta Luizinha, as stating that during their socialisation (information campaign) this year, her organization noted that, one of the impacts of violation (rape or abuse) of young girls is that 79% of the victims abandon their studies.

"In the presentation we also see in the results that we have collected thus far that 79% of girls dropout of school because they are not in a  condition to continue school. Some because they are pregnant, some because of 9the trauma and discrimination against them] resulting from rape or sexual assault that occurs while they are in the learning process," she stated.

"We all need to see how to find a solution, mechanism or means to help them, in particular our girls so that they can return to school and finish their studies."

The Director stated that she will look for a way that the victims can return to their schooling. "According to our organisations that assist the victims, such as Casa Vida and Fokupers, a majority of the victims that stay in the shelters (Uma Mahon), stop their studies due to these conditions. It shows that they want to return to school because they have the same rights as other children. They are still children (minors), with the right to access education," she emphasized.

She stated that one problem the victims face if they return to school is discrimination. "We think this is because each school looks at morality, ethics and discipline and such. But we must see that this condition is not what they wanted," she said.

She said that her organisation will continue the information campaign so that the schools can receive back girls who have dropped out of school because they were victims of sexual violence. Reporter: Julio da Silva. Source: Jornal Independent 17/05/2013. Translated from the original Tetum and published by the Timor Leste Media Development Centre. Edited by Warren L. Wright

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