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Women's groups establish movement to combat sexual violence, rape

Okezone - April 19, 2013

Susi Fatimah, Jakarta Ė The failure of law enforcement officials to protect women from sexual violence and rape has prompted an alliance of women from Free Women (Perempuan Mahardika), the Cross-Factory Labour Forum (FBLP) and Marsinah Radio FM to form a movement called the Progressive Labour Front (Barisan Maju Buruh, BAMBU) for Women.

BAMBU coordinator Ampi said that the formation of the movement was in the context of providing information and education to women so that they can protect themselves from widespread acts of violence and rape.

"We will provide awareness through education. Initiate campaigns in the form of leaflets and speeches, so that women have the know how to confront perpetrators by any and all means", said Ampi at the offices of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) in Jakarta on Friday April 19.

The BAMBU movement itself, continued Ampi, will be launched to coincide with Kartini Day on April 21 in Cakung, North Jakarta. The event will be attended by thousands of workers who will bring bamboo sticks measuring 40 centimeters as self-defense against acts of violence against women.

Ampi also said that they will be urging women workers to carry the bamboo sticks during their daily activities, in order to prevent acts of violence on the streets. This is particularly the case for women that have no access to transport facilities when they return home from work after 9pm.

"The women should carry the bamboo [sticks] in their bags, that's what we will be telling our comrades. If they are trapped they can brandish the bamboo [stick]", she said.

In addition to providing awareness through education, BAMBU will also facilitate legal assistance for victims of violence and rape. "We the BAMBU front will accept reports of violence against women and are ready to provide advocacy", she said in closing. (teb)


Raden Ajeng Kartini was an Indonesian regent's daughter during the Dutch colonial period who, through her letters home, outlined her dreams of a better life for women. She died aged 25 a few days after giving birth to her first child. A variety of myths have made the original Kartini a nationalist hero and feminist symbol. Hari Kartini (Kartini Day, April 21) is a public holiday dedicated to the memory of the turn-of-the-century hero.

[Marak Pemerkosaan, Buruh Perempuan Diminta Siaga Bambu di Tas - Okezone. Jum'at, 19 April 2013. Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft news service.]

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