Alya ends her silent struggle with sexual abuse
Jogo Konco creates safe environments for children
It’s been an hour since Alya*, now 20, has been focused on her laptop. Her fingers skillfully dancing on the keyboard while she scans the words on screen, as if she must commit everything to memory. Once in a while, she wipes a falling tear from her cheek, but she still has a blush of relief and happiness.
Alya still vividly remembers her bitter secondary school memories. She was 13 when a male teacher first molested her in a prayer room at her school. The sexual abuse continued after that.
Like many teenage girls who have never been exposed to sexual education since it is considered taboo, Alya wasn’t aware of what she had been through, let alone how to respond. She questioned herself whether what she experienced was appropriate or if she was overreacting.
“One time, I urged my parents to transfer me to another school, but my mom insisted to stay since it was the best school in town, even though her maternal instincts sensed something was wrong when he came to our home uninvited,” Alya says.
Despite all the unanswered questions that tormented her, Alya kept silent for years. She focused on what she could enjoy at school and minimized her interaction with the teacher.
When she started college, Alya discovered an interactive online platform called Jogo Konco (looking after a friend), which was launched in July 2022 by the Central Java Children’s Forum, the provincial office of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection and UNICEF, with support from the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.
According to ECPAT (2020), three out of 10 children experienced sexual exploitation or abuse online globally during the pandemic. In Indonesia, a 2019 U-Report poll conducted with 2,777 children aged 14-24 nationwide, 45 per cent said they had experienced cyberbullying, with boys reporting slightly higher rates than girls at 49 per cent and 41 per cent respectively.
Designed to respond to this increase in violence, Jogo Konco seeks to prevent and respond to online child sexual abuse and exploitation by providing a safe space to report any sexual abuse experiences. It also provides references for professional services for children and youth, such as child protection experts and psychiatrists. Since its inception, 1,643 accounts have been registered on Jogo Konco from across Central Java.
“Jogo Konco is designed to be a safe place for victims to share their stories,” says Adit, age 17, an administrator of the platform whose job is to monitor, verify and follow up received reports. “But sharing stories about sexual abuse can be a dilemma,” explains Dika, age 18, another administrator. “Sometimes victims do not get empathy. Instead, there is stigma or even blame for how they dress.”
“I share my story on Jogo Konco so that I can inspire others to have the courage and share their stories. I want to save children who could potentially be the next Alya.”
*Note: Alya’s name has been changed in the story to protect her identity.
How You Can Help
Thanks to the monthly contributions from Pendekar Anak as well as other donors, UNICEF is able to work with local governments, partners, and young leaders to enable platforms such as Jogo Konco in order to support child and adolescent protection in the midst of the digital era.
Alya is one of many inspiring girls with courage and willingness for change. However, there are still many children and adolescents with similar stories needing our support beyond this program in other areas.
If you want to help children and other young leaders through our program to create a safer and better space for them, please consider donating to UNICEF. We very much appreciate your contribution.