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Indonesian nuns encourage youths to fight violence

Sisters of the Congregation of Servants of the Holy Spirit use murder case to explain why violence should not be tolerated

Indonesian nuns encourage youths to fight violence

Young people participate in a vigil on March 24 to remember a murdered woman and learn how not to tolerate violence. (Photo by Ferdinand Ambo)

Nuns on the Indonesian island of Flores have used the recent murder of a woman to raise awareness among youth about violence in society, especially against against women.

The vigil was attended by dozens of students in Labuan Bajo, a small beach resort town in western Flores, on March 24.

At the end of last year, local residents were shocked by the discovery of a woman's corpse dumped near the town. Police, who said the woman was murdered in a local hotel, arrested a suspect on March 19. 

Sister Yosephina Palawati of the Congregation of Servants of the Holy Spirit who runs Rumah Perempuan, an advisory service for victims of violence, told those at the vigil that tragedies that befell the woman can happen at any time and any where.

"We told them to always be vigilant and what to do if they are in danger," she said.

She said Labuan Bajo was falling victim to more violent crime as the town grows as a tourist destination.

Last year there were 17 cases of violent crime, which included domestic violence, rape and the reported murder.

"This year we have handled five cases, one of which is rape," she said, adding that the number of unreported cases was likely higher. 

"Many people are reluctant to speak so we called on the youth to report it if they witness or fall victim to violence," she said.

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