#TalkwithUs-Batch4 "Fighting Against Sexual Harassment"

Oleh: Akyasa Adiba

On Friday, July 10th 2020, at 07.30 pm Imbang Diri held Talk With Us Batch 6 International Free Seminar: Fighting Against Sexual Harassment. The number of participants that registered for the event reached 999 members in the Telegram group specifically made for the seminar. Imbang Diri proceeded to start the event by giving out the Zoom link to the participants. Those who were having trouble connecting with Zoom were then directed to live stream from Imbang Diri’s private YouTube channel. The seminar started with an opening from the moderator Andrea Renina, co-president of Indonesian Youth Network. She proceeded to explain the rules and flow of the seminar to the participants, making sure we understood before introducing the seminar’s three main speakers.

The first to give speak with us was Dita Soedarjo, CEO Haagen Dazs Indonesia, and philantropist @DignitySocial. She shared with us about the problems of sexual harassment in Indonesia. She began with explaining to us the current situation and problems that women in Indonesia have to face everyday, starting from the types of sexual harassment to restrictions that come with Indonesia’s conservative society. Dita Soedarjo stressed how important it is for the people in Indonesia to be introduced to sexual education. Sexual education can help people know when they are being sexually abused and what to do if that happens to them. She also encouraged people with trauma caused by sexual abuse to immediately get help. Trauma when left unattended can affect how people interact with those around them. That is why it is important for victims of sexual abuse to speak out about their experience in a safe and supporting environment. She also insisted how women in Indonesia needed to know how to differentiate between lust and love. Men can sometimes manipulate women into having sex with them by telling them to prove their love, but this isn’t right. Love is supposed to be healthy and understanding; it doesn’t need to be proved by sexual favors. She told the participants that relationships based on lust won’t last very long. It may feel good to be wanted by men but the fact is that men can lust over any woman. That is why it is important for women to know that they are precious and that they don’t need validation from men to feel valuable. She ended her session by reminding us that women are God’s precious princess and that we should always remain vigilant no matter what.

The second speaker was Nuria Gonzales, Nation public health officer & LOCO President at IFMSA-Spain. She started her session by explaining how different Spain’s society is from Indonesia. Spain is a country more liberal than Indonesia. In Spain women can wear whatever they want and that society won’t judge them too harshly for showing skin. They believe it is a women’s right to dress however we want and that men shouldn’t comment on how a woman dress. Nuriani focused on how important for women to speak up against sexual harassment. Different from Indonesia, in Spain people don’t speak up because they feel as if it is not important, terrified that they will get blamed for exaggerating their experience. She told us that in Spain men will usually blame the woman when they have been accused of sexual harassment, saying that women have been making up the story, that she had given consent first hand, and many other excuses that shift the blame onto the woman. Nuriani stressed that even if you’re flirting with a guy or even if you are wearing revealing clothes, it doesn’t mean that men can touch you without your consent.  She also told us that even if you have given consent once, it doesn’t mean you have to continuously give your consent. Women can say no and should say no when they feel uncomfortable with anyone touching them. She then explained to us the laws and the steps that her government have taken to fight against sexual harassment in Spain. By law, if someone has been proven guilty of sexual harassment they could face 1 to 5 years in jail. If someone has been proven guilty of violent sexual harassment (rape) they can face up to 6 to 10 years in jail. In Spain they also have an awareness campaign which consists of seminars in schools, social media pages, and self-defense workshops for women. To help victims of sexual harassment, in Spain they have numerous NGOs and victims associations that are ready to support the victims in times of need.

Last but not least, the third speaker was Rahaf Al-Saif, youth goodwill ambassador of United Nation IGO & Co-founder @youth4wildlife from Egypt. She wasn’t there to explain how her country deals with sexual harassment but instead shared with us her own story of facing and battling against sexual harassment. She too was a victim and she bravely told her story to all of the participants in hopes of encouraging them to fight. Being a victim of sexual harassment can make you feel as if your world has shattered, but Rahaf Al-Saif is one of the many living proof that you can rise up and fight. She reminded us that we are all strong and that with time we will heal if we make the effort for it. ”You’ve got to live your life, you have to fight for yourself, your mental health and rights,” Rahaf said to the 999 participants listening to her harrowing experience. 

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