Tag Archives: sexuality rights; reproductive health; violence against women

The Urgent Call for Sexual Reproductive Health Education in Aceh (Sumatera Island, Indonesia)

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Aceh is one of 32 provinces in Indonesia, which has applied Sharia Law or Islamic Law. The situation is not very positive for women, hence the law targeting mostly women’s bodies, rights and public sphere participation – among others. The number of violence against women cases is high, not just in the conflict situation (Aceh has suffered from military operations for the past decade) but also during disaster periods and in post-disaster management.

Why is this happening? How is the understanding of reproductive health and sexuality in post-conflict areas, such as Aceh?

Eva Khofifah from Aceh Indonesian Planned Parenthood Forum, one of the speakers at the Youth Sexuality and Reproductive Health Training in Aceh (run by PWAG Indonesia, last February 2014), mentioned that Islam is actually very protective and concerned with reproductive rights of women and children. It is also stated in the Quran that people should not abandon the needs of vulnerable groups such as children, especially for their well-being. We could interpret this verse as a strong demand for information on sexuality and reproductive health for young people. Instead the local Islamic law targets at how women have to wear hijabs, how they must dress and restricts women’s access to public space and condemns women to walk outside at night hours.

AYOMI, an organization in Aceh, has done some research since 2008 stating that over 30% of the girls between 16 and 18 years old have been forcibly married and that over 40% experienced dating violence in Aceh. This number doesn’t even include the fact that many teenagers have been involved in unsafe sex with their friends. The risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases is very high, leading the youth to conditions, in which they are not able to continue education or even find any work in the future.

According to Ryan Fajar Febrianto, one of our facilitators during student training, the health of young people doesn’t just include physical health, but also mental and social health within their society. Access to comprehensive reproductive health is crucial, not just for information purposes but also to prepare the youth for a better future.

The problems in Aceh are not just based on the culture that prohibits access to information on sexuality and reproductive health, but also on the missing access to comprehensive information. Institutions such as schools need to have programs for comprehensive sexual education, said some of the activists in Aceh.

The youth involved in our 4-days training was very positive and responsive towards the program that PWAG Indonesia made. It has also been suggested to increase this kind of training in other schools outside of Banda Aceh (capital of Aceh province). PWAG Indonesia has been working closely with Aceh Women for Peace Foundation and LBH APIK Aceh, in order to develop similar trainings in other cities, for future programs. The urgent call of women and youth living under these conditions in Aceh needs to be addressed, not just with a one-time program, but with continuing and sustainable programs.

By Olin Monteiro (National Coordinator PWAG Indonesia)

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Erster Erlebnisbericht aus Buenos Aires – und Ausblick auf den zweitägigen Workshop zu „Gender Perspektiven und Frauenhandel“

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Vom 29. April bis 6. Mai findet in Buenos Aires das internationale Treffen der PWAG Koordinatorinnen aus den Violence Against Women-Projekten in Indonesien, Brasilien und Argentinien, statt.  Das erklärte Ziel ist der interregionale Erfahrungsaustausch. Für die ersten Tage hat  Maria Julia Moreyra, die PWAG Koordinatorin für Lateinamerika, ein spannendes und abwechslungsreiches Programm vorbereitet. Unter anderem besuchen wir die Oficina de la Mujer (OM)ein seit 2009 in Kraft getretenes Frauenbüro des argentinischen Justizministeriums.  Das Treffen beginnt am Mittwoch  30. April, um 16.00 Uhr, in einem altehrwürdigen Saal des Obersten Gerichtshofes.  An den dunklen Holzwänden hängen  lauter Portraits oberster Richter – „alles Männer und alle weiss“, so die Anmerkung einer Teilnehmerin.

Die Leiterin der Oficina de la Mujer, Dra. Flora Sofía Acselrad,  berichtet von den verschiedenen Aktivitäten und Erfolgen. Man merkt ihren sehr engagierten Ausführungen an, dass sich hier eine Frau wirklich auskennt. Eindrücklich ist, dass hier innerhalb der Justiz, also innerhalb des Systems, Veränderung stattfindet. Systematisch werden darüber hinaus sogenannte „Replicadores“, eine Art Multiplikatorinnen weitergebildet. Und entscheidend ist, dass diese keine „Gender“ Expertinnen sein müssen, denn es geht nicht so sehr um Theorie, sondern um das Engagement und das Interesse an sich. Im letzten Newsletter hat PWAG die Arbeit des OM und die Chance der Weiterbildung, die Maria-Julia erhalten hat,  schon einmal vorgestellt.

PWAG International Meeting

Nun zur Gegenwart…

Viele Tage und auch Nächte hat Maria Julia damit verbracht, den Workshop zum Thema „Frauenhandel mit dem Zweck sexueller Ausbeutung“ thematisch und inhaltlich zu organisieren. Da das Ganze in Kooperation mit dem Colegio Público de Abogados de la Capital Federal und der Abgeordneten Margarita Stolbizer vorbereitet wurde, gab es viel Diskussions- und Abstimmungsbedarf.

Jetzt kann es dann aber losgehen – nachdem kurz vor Start nochmals der Raum gewechselt werden musste, weil ein Dachziegel runterbrach. Und das an einem solch noblen Veranstaltungsort, wie dem Honorable Cámara de Diputados de la Nación.

Vera Viera, unsere langjährige Koordinatorin in Brasilien, weiss was es heisst einen internationalen Workshop zu organisieren, denn letztes Jahr war sie Gastgeberin. Sie wird am Nachmittag,  gemeinsam mit zwei FriedensFrauen aus Brasilien,  das erste internationale Panel des zweitägigen Workshops bestreiten. Nilza Iraci und Maria Amelia de Almeida Teles sind seit vielen Jahren Aktivistinnen, sie selbst bezeichnen sich als militantes. Das Thema des heutigen Panels ist: Experiencias de organizaciones y redes de mujeres. Defensa, protección, crímenes sexuales, procesos judiciales (Erfahrungsberichte von Frauenorganisationen und  -netzwerken zu Verteidigung, Schutz und Präzedenzfällen von sexuellen Verbrechen).Team Brasilien

Verfasserin: Meike Sahling, Geschäftsleiterin FriedensFrauen Weltweit

Sexuality Rights and Reproductive Health Education for Young People in Post Conflict Area

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PWAG Indonesia started the project of ending Violence Against Women in 2008, with several programs involving our PeaceWomen and organization network of the women’s movement. Last year and in the next two years, we will focus on education for young people, especially related to sexuality rights and reproductive health as a means to combat Violence Against Women.

Last year, we conducted a workshop and training for teacher and young high school students in Atambua, West Timor, East Nusa Tenggara. The training was a success and we received good feedback from the school and local government. We also have been invited by the local government in Timor Island to conduct another training in the coming year.

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Since January we are researching among teachers and students about their needs regarding the trainings. As an initial finding we conclude that the need to have regular training on this issue with teachers and high school students is significant. Most of the teachers in Jakarta have not been trained or have never attended any reproductive health and sexuality workshop themselves. They have some knowledge on issues related to biology or anatomy of women and men. But, they have never had comprehensive sexual relation education, related to relationship, women rights, sexuality rights, health, etc.

The students are eager on receiving more information about date violence, menstruation problems and would appreciate having a counseling center to help them get a better understanding on reproductive health issues and unprotected sexual behavior.

PWAG Indonesia will come up with a final report about the situation by the end of 2014. Following Atambua last year, this year, we will have research and training in Ambon (Mollucan Islands – Eastern Indonesia). By this we contribute to spread a bit of knowledge among the young people of Indonesia and later also spread the education methods and work with more organizations to replicate the same programs in other cities/islands.

Apart from our research and training on reproductive health and sexuality rights, we will be involved in a lot of activities related to the preparation and campaign of the General Elections in April and facing the new parliament and government.

Author: Olin Monteiro, National Coordinator PWAG Indonesia And Director of ArtforWomenIndonesia