Empowering women in Indonesia

Nurani Perempuan, a women’s crisis centre in Indonesia, supports survivors of gender-based violence and works to prevent violence against women. Here, we meet Nurani Perempuan’s Director Ibu Meri.

Four women stand in front of an Indonesian government building, holding signs calling for womens rights. Two women are in wheelchairs, and their friends stand next to them. All four women wear headscarves and masks, and look cheerfully at the camera.

My name is Ibu Meri. Like many women in my community, I have been a victim of gender-based violence.

I know first-hand the psychological and physical impacts of gender-based violence. I believe our culture says that women should be respected, but this isn’t always the case. My society is a strict one. Many women who experience gender-based violence struggle to speak up because they will be stigmatised or discriminated against – or be blamed for what happened to them.

I believe this is wrong. I believe that women in my community should be independent, empowered and free to make their own choices. I want the women in my community who, like me, have experienced gender-based violence to know they are not alone. This is why I do the work I do.

I am the Director of Nurani Perempuan, a not-for-profit organisation based in Padang, West Sumatra. Through this organisation my team and I work every day to support and empower women who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Women reach out to us, in person or online, and we connect them to services including treatment, support, resources and in some cases, law enforcement. For emergencies, we can provide women with safehouses, places where they can go and recover, knowing that their abuser cannot contact them. But our help doesn’t end there.

We also provide these women with social integration services, counselling and opportunities for education. Many women who escape gender-based violence struggle with confidence. We want to change that.

Our other work focuses on prevention – teaching the young about issues related to gender equality and gender-based violence – and carrying out advocacy work at the local and national levels, because change must come from all of society.

With the support of a small grant from the Australian Volunteers Program, Nurani Perempuan helped survivors of sexual violence form a support group. Together, the women in this group attended workshops designed to help them change their perspective, to encourage, communicate with, and support each other.

Discover more in our short animation narrated by Ibu Meri.

An illustration of three women

They know that they are not alone and that they are not the cause of the violence they have experienced.

The work supported by the Australian Volunteers Program will form the basis for future projects, helping women to recover from and thrive after experiences of gender-based violence. Together, we can inspire others in my community to become agents of change – because no woman or girl should have to endure gender-based violence.