Rifka Annisa – Protection of young women against sexual violence

From a cultural point of view, Indonesia stands for harmony. In the case of sexual violence, however harmony is often merely a false front, which is distinctly proven by a report by the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) from 2014. According to the report, in the year of 2013 alone, there were 279,760 registered cases of violence, 5,629 of them were directly related to sexual violence, a significant rise compared with the previous years. From 2009 until 2013 the partner organization Rifka Annisa has registered 256 cases of rapes and sexual harassment in the city of Yogyakarta alone.

One of the priority areas that have seen an increasing rate of sexual violence is the region Gunung Kidul, approximately three hours away from Yogyakarta, on Java Island. The victims are first and foremost schoolgirls from vocational schools. Sexual violence does not only happen during dates between young men and women, but also during internships or at the workplace outside of school. The problem connected with the termination of the formal education has long-term consequences. Due to a lack of qualification, affected women have to accept lifelong simple and less paid work, which in many cases is far away from their hometown. This also happens frequently abroad, where these women are often exploited.

The partner-organization Rifka Annisa has started the project in the districts and in the located vocational schools of Gedangsari, Ngawen, Saptosari and Wonosari in May 2014. As a preparation of the project a baseline study was made at the end of 2013. The study focused primarily on awareness and the state of knowledge about sexual violence. The study has proved the relevance of the project, as there is not widespread knowledge about sexuality in general and about sexual violence in particular.

Rifka Annisa means – translated from Arabic – “Women’s Friend” and was founded as an Indonesian NGO in August of 1993. Prior to its formal founding it was already known as Rifka Annisa Women’s Crisis Center, which was explicitly established as a shelter for women who were victims of violence in their domestic environment. In May 2005 Rifka Annisa was enlarged to an association of women’s initiatives in Yogyakarta, as a collective body against the growing violence in society against women and children. The association supported victims of sexual violence.

The educational work regarding the topics of sexual violence and violence in general is counteracting the development-inhibiting discrimination of women and children. By strengthening initiatives, women’s groups and supportive organizations on the community level are encouraged, thus the sustainability of the project work is secured.

A change of legal framework for victims of violence, above all for women, young vocational schoolgirls and children shall be enforced due to the lobbying towards state owned and further relevant actors. At the same time an effective implementation of the so far existing children’s rights politics and its legislation will be initiated.

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Rifka Annisa
Jln. Jambon IV,Kompleks Jatimulyo Indah
Yogyakarta 55242.
Email: rifka [at] rifka-annisa.org
Web: www.RifkaAnnisa.org
Director: Suharti Muklas