Women Crossing the Line - August 2012

, Malawi

In the safe spaces that JASS Southern Africa creates, Malawian women have found growing confidence to tell their own stories, even when these concern taboos. While a great many women are involved in transactional or survival sex, the power of stigma prevents them from being open about it. Gradually, however, this too is changing. Sarah (not her real name) bravely shares her story with us in her own words.
Maria Mustika
, Indonesia

Maria Mustika learned first-hand the isolation and trauma that comes from shame and stigma in families and communities. Her LBTI activism (lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex) is grounded in her personal experience of coming out as a lesbian. For more than ten years, she has been taking the lid off sex and sexuality in her community. First, as part of community outreach for Gaya Nusantara – one of the most vocal and visible gay rights organizations in Indonesia – Maria supported other young people kicked out of their homes and circles of friends because of their sexual orientation.
Chea Cheysovanna
, Cambodia

Vanna, as she is known, has walked quite a path with JASS Southeast Asia so far. It makes sense that this path led her to join with others from the local JASS circle to start a young women’s network in Cambodia. Vanna was among the participants at the first JASS Southeast Asia regional gathering, an inspiring process held on the shores of Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Indonesia. Before this, Vanna’s work with a local NGO in Phnom Penh left her feeling somewhat removed, using other women’s stories to highlight issues in advocacy around women’s needs. The 2008 JASS process inspired her to ground her activism in her own personal experience.