Appeal: Against sexual violence in Indonesia

Our comrade Dian Trisnanti, who is the Coordinator of Radio Marsinah, visited us from Indonesia in Manchester in July 2014. After she returned home she sent us a message and appeal about action her organisation is taking against sexual violence. She reminded us that Indonesia is a developing country with a population of 241 million people. Workers in Indonesia number about 118 million, of which 38% are women. About 60% are informal workers. Most women work in the informal sector, and make up about 41% there because that kind of work does not require a background in higher education. Women workers are paid low salaries. KBN Cakung, for example, is the biggest garment textile industry zone in Jakarta, in North Jakarta, and produces for export garments for Europe and the USA (for GAP, Zara, H & M, Adidas, Kohls, Esprit, for example).

In this sector more than 90% workers are female, and suffer a great deal of violence. They have few rights as workers, they suffer low wages well under the minimum wage, are subject to suspension of wages legalized by the government, and have no rights to maternity leave, miscarriage leave, social security, or unpaid overtime. The violence against female workers is unremitting and there is no response from the government, even though KBN Cakung belongs to the state. The condition of women workers is actually getting worse because they are not only oppressed as workers but also as women. These problems pose big obstacles for them to be involved in labour unions or become active leaders. This is why it is crucial to organise women workers not only as workers but also as women. Radio Marsinah has been involved in advocacy work, it has provided shelter for victims of domestic and sexual workplace violence, and now they have moved on to get more support for this struggle by using film.

Radio Marsinah are beginning with a film on breaking the silence about sexual violence. According to the National Women Commission in 2012, there are 216,156 sexual violence cases, and they know that these figures do not reflect the actual situation of women workers because of the enforced silence about the sexual violence they have experienced. So, sexual violence is also a crime of silence, something that happens in work-place in the midst of the machine noise.This film is a pilot project to break the silence and encourage more victims to speak and become survivors, to speak and organise for themselves, for others. A trailer for the film project is at

Radio Marsinah needs support for this film project. If you would like to donate, you can transfer funds to BCA (Bank Central Asia) KCP (branch), the address is Kramat Jaya, North Jakarta, 4141796814. The account is in the name of Dian Septi Trisnanti and Kurniati. The Swift Code or Iban number of the BCA is CENAIDJA. FIIMG and activists of the Fourth International in Leeds have sent money already to support this film project, and we are collecting more money now to send. Because of the high bank charges it is more efficient to collect this money and send it all at once, and so if you want to contact us we will ensure that money gets to Dian and the film project team. You can contact us at