With increasing reports of child rape, there has been a higher demand for sex education to be included in school curriculums in Indonesia. Last year alone, there were 244 media reported cases of child rape. The Indonesian Commission on Child Protection (KPAI) is urging the government to pass legislations that will make sex education compulsory. Without proper knowledge, KPAI argues that the number of rapes will only continue to increase.
“The public and the government must understand that sex education will not encourage children to have sex. People still mistake knowledge of sex with a guide to sexual intercourse. This is why many still think that sex education is opening up the taboo in our society,” KPAI Commissioner Maria Ulfah said. “Adults are responsible for the increasing number of rapes against our children. Children having proper knowledge about their sexual reproduction will protect them from assaults by family members, teachers, peers, as well as strangers.”
There have been other groups alongside KPAI that have been strongly pushing for sex education. Jurnal Perempuan (or Women’s Journal) has drafted a sex education curriculum that will be tested at selected schools across Indonesia. In addition, Planned Parenthood has already been providing training sessions for locals in Yogyakarta. Also, the mayor of Kulon Progo, Hastro Wardoyo, is pushing to integrate sex education, which will make his local schools the first in the country to have it in their curriculum. However, there has been growing resistance from political parties and society in general.
Sex is still a taboo topic. Previously, the Education and Culture Minister has rejected a proposal for sex education, deeming that speaking on the subject publically goes against the nation’s traditions. The term “sex” in sex education is another problem. Unless the term can be renamed, it will be hard to escape the stigma. This makes it is difficult to access information about contraceptives, HIV/AIDS, and sexual orientation. In a survey conducted in 2011 by the Ministry of Health, only 20% of people between the ages of 15 and 24 possessed knowledge of HIV. Reproductive rights advocates stated that without proper knowledge on sex and sexuality, there will a rise in unwanted pregnancy, early marriage, unsafe abortions, and HIV/AIDS.
“We’re trying to ensure information reaches a broader audience,” said Andreas Nugahita, a teen who recently attended a meeting with a local official, along with dozens of other teens who took Planned Parenthood training sessions, to discuss the lack of sex education in their local schools. “The more people understand, the more they can take responsibility for their own sexual behavior. That could change teenagers’ attitudes toward sex all across Indonesia.”
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