News / Asia

Online Tool Teaches Indonesians Sex Education

A screen grab of zoyaamirin.com, a site for sex education in Indonesia.
A screen grab of zoyaamirin.com, a site for sex education in Indonesia.

Multimedia

Audio
Kate Lamb

Although young Indonesians might be familiar with the latest fashions, movies and electronic gadgets, when it comes to basic knowledge about their bodies, they are not as savvy.

Indonesia has one of the fastest growing rates of HIV transmission in Asia, but the majority of Indonesian youth could not tell you why. Data from the country's health ministry indicates that some 75 percent of Indonesians aged between 15 and 49 believe HIV is transmitted by mosquitoes.

Like many of her peers, Ariyanti Tarman, 26, says she did not have any formal sex education while in school.      

"The only thing close is biology class and it was about reproduction and that's it," said Tarman.  "So I got information about sex and issues related to sex such as HIV and STDs from newspapers, magazines, the Internet and also from movies."

The world's most populous Muslim nation is socially conservative and, for many, discussing sex is taboo.

But, a more liberal approach to sex is putting pressure on traditional attitudes.  A recent global survey found that nearly 40 percent of Indonesian teenagers have had sex and almost half of them do not use contraception with new partners.

With the government reluctant to implement sex education into the national curriculum, Zoya Amirin, a prominent female sex psychologist, is taking the matter into her own hands.  

Amirin recently launched a weekly video podcast on issues related to sexual health and says she hopes it will help fill in the knowledge gaps.

"Most of the research actually shows that most of the people learn from porn, asking from their friends and they believe in myths," said Amirin. "That is a dangerous thing. For instance, they believe that washing your genitals after having sex, especially with alcohol, can prevent you from getting a sexual transmission infection."

The lack of basic information about sexual health and the prevalence of myths also runs parallel to the spread of HIV across the country.

The National AIDS Prevention Commission reports the rate of HIV infections is on the rise in several provinces, including Bengkulu, Papua, Maluku, Aceh and Banten.

Official figures show that some 70,000 Indonesians are HIV positive, but it is estimated the real figure could be as high as 300,000.  For Aryanti Tarman, conservative attitudes need to catch up with modern day realities.

"I think lots of people are sexually active even though they are not married," added Tarman.  "It seems that the society in general is still trying to ignore that. They still pretend that it is not happening but it is happening, so, like, you need to do something about it and make sure that if the young people do it at least they do it safely."

Although the government has been reluctant to introduce sex education into the curriculum, non-traditional educators like Zoya Amirin say they are seeing a change in public attitudes.

Amirin says she has received an overwhelming response to her weekly podcasts and has even been pleasantly surprised by reactions from religious conservatives.

While declining to name names, Amirin says several private Islamic boarding schools have hired her to conduct sex education workshops this year.

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify Power Base

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs