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Indonesian nuns help women understand laws

Church-run forum has within the last month handled 57 cases of abuse

Indonesian nuns help women understand laws
Holy Spirit Sister Sisilia Anak Agung
Fransiskus P. Seran, Atambua

January 28, 2011

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The Woman and Child Care Forum (FPPA) in the predominantly Catholic Atambua province of East Nusa Tenggara in eastern Indonesia is offering a program to inform abused women of their legal rights. “We are offering a counseling program to both victims and their families so as to make them understand about the law. The purpose is to gain justice legally,” said Sister Sisilia Anak Agung from the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit congregation who founded the forum in 2000. Since the beginning of January, the forum has handled 57 cases: three of sexual abuse, three of rape and incest, two of adultery, 22 of domestic violence, seven of mistreatment, 17 of promise breaking and three of negligence. “Rape cases are caused by two main factors namely uncontrolled sexual desire and liquor,” said Sister Agung. She added that drinking was also the cause of many sexual abuse cases. Promise breaking is a case involving a man who makes a woman pregnant but does not want to marry her. In cases of negligence, the husbands abandoned their wives and children, the nun explained. Besides the counseling program, FPPA will this year focus on drawing interest groups and local Church, especially the Commission of Justice and Peace of the diocese of Atambua, to work together in preventing recurring violence against women. The forum now works with local NGOs including Rumah Perempuan (House of Women) and the Work Network for Women in Eastern Indonesia as well as international organizations including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to promote the rights of women and children through a variety of programs. Related report Atambua NGO continues to serve women and children IS13065.1638
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