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MALAYSIAN BORNEO PENAN GIRLS AND WOMEN, REPORTED SEXUALLY ABUSED


BARAM, Malaysia - Many years back, a government task force report has confirmed that Penan women and children in Sarawak were raped and sexually abused by timber workers.
The report by the national task force set up in October last year also found troubling incidents of children as young as 10 years old being sexually abused by the timber companies’ truck drivers when they took the children to school.
The task force reported that students were “frequently molested” by the truck drivers.
  • “In one account, the truck driver molested a 14-year-old’s breasts on the journey to school,” the report, written in Malay, said.
  • It said that in another incident, a girl was taken away by the truck driver after the boys were told to get down from the vehicle. Other girls in the truck managed to escape, but were unable to help that one girl get down in time.
  • In yet another instance, a girl was riding, together with her father, in a timber truck to go to Long Bangan to apply for her identity card. “Halfway through the journey, the passengers were told to alight, but the driver hung on to Mary (not her real name) and sped off. He then stopped the truck, dragged her to a bush by the side of the road and tried to molest her.
  • “Her father and the other passengers ran after the truck after realising that Mary had been apprehended, and managed to catch up with them and stop any further abuse,” the report said.
  • An interviewee told the task force she had been raped by the timber company’s truck driver on her way to a neighbouring longhouse, in addition to being raped when she was 12 outside the school compound by an unidentified man.
  • “She recalled that the government used to provide vehicles to take them home from school during the term breaks. However, this had been discontinued, so they had to rely on the timber companies as the only means of transportation,” the report noted.
  • In the absence of any viable alternatives such as proper tarred roads or school buses, Penan children who live in the interior are entirely reliant on the timber companies for transport as some of their schools are located four to six hours away by truck.
  • The report was prepared mostly from interviews conducted by ministry officials and other representatives, including women’s groups, in November 2008 when they visited the Penan community in Sarawak. The task force was set up to investigate the allegations of rape and sexual abuse of Penan women and girls in the Baram district.
Despite the task force’s findings, it remains to be seen whether any of the offenders will be charged and brought to justice for the sexual abuse perpetrated on the Penan women and children. Although several police reports have been made, it is unclear whether the police will be investigating the matter.
Source:The Nuth Graph
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