Establishing the first women’s organization in Bandung, Indonesia, was bound to create a wave of response from a community where social movements had previously been dominated by men.
Fast forward 15 years Yayasan Institut Perempuan (Women’s Institute Foundation) is thriving and highly regarded. Through her organization Valentina Sagala, or “Valent” as she known to her close friends, has been pushing for reforms to laws that “dehumanize women, and even create and perpetuate violence against women,” a situation which she believes had a part in enabling the mass rape tragedy during the violence of 1998 across Indonesia.
Her organization advocates for laws to promote the protection of women and children, monitors policy formulation and law enforcement, provides direct services to women and children survivors of violence, and also runs a school for feminist critical education.She also set up community-based groups to provide services to victims of human trafficking, and then linked rural community-based organizations through the West Java Anti-Trafficking movement Network.
Valentina is heavily involved in policy formulation and advocacy, from the drafting of the West Java Action Plan on Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labor, Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking in Persons. She is widely published, including essays and research publications, books and poetry. Valentina, who was recently married, admits that her first love is feminism.