Valentina Sagala, S.E., S.H., M.H. adalah pakar, tokoh masyarakat, pejuang hak asasi manusia (HAM), advokat, penulis, peneliti, cerpenis, penyair, kolumnis, editor, dosen, berpengalaman lebih dari 25 tahun di dunia hukum, kebijakan, HAM, gender, perlindungan anak, migrasi dan perdagangan orang, perdamaian dan konflik.
Mengenal isu perempuan dan anak sejak duduk di bangku SMA SANTA URSULA Jakarta, tahun 1995, memulai aktivitas sosial sebagai relawan di Institut Sosial Jakarta dan Mitra Masyarakat Kota, yang memfokuskan diri pada isu perlindungan anak. Sejak itu memantapkan minat pengabdian pada isu perlindungan anak.
Menempuh pendidikan tinggi di dua universitas terbaik di Indonesia, yaitu Fakultas Ekonomi Jurusan Akuntansi Universitas Katolik Parahyangan (1996) dan Fakultas Hukum Universitas Padjadjaran (1997), memberi kesempatan menjadi aktivis mahasiswa era 1998, termasuk menjadi Ketua USIK UNPAR dan anggota ALDERA (Aliansi Demokrasi Rakyat). Lulus dari Universitas Katolik Parahyangan dan Universitas Padjaran, melanjutkan studi hingga memperoleh gelar Magister Hukum dan Pascasarjana Universitas Padjdjaran. Saat ini adalah kandidat doktor hukum di salah satu perguruan tinggi.
Setelah sebelumnya mendirikan RUMAH KITA (1996) yang memfokuskan untuk pendidikan alternatif anak, tahun 1998, mendirikan INSTITUT PEREMPUAN sebagai organisasi perempuan yang mengabdikan diri bagi penegakan hak perempuan, anak, dan kelompok minoritas lainnya. Sejak itu pula menjadi Direktur Eksekutif, hingga kini menjabat Chairperson of Executive Board Institut Perempuan dan Ketua Dewan Pengurus Perkumpulan Institut Perempuan. Tahun 2013 menjadi Founder SEPERTI PAGI Foundation, yang memberi perhatian terhadap isu anak dan keluarga. Menjadi pendiri berbagai jaringan advokasi di tingkat nasional, serta aktif di berbagai jaringan regional dan internasional. Tahun 2020, menjadi salah seorang pendiri Perkumpulan CINTA ANAK DUNIA yang memfokuskan pada isu hak asasi perempuan dan anak, serta perlindungan anak.
Berpengalaman lebih dari 25 tahun lamanya sebagai Senior Independent Expert/Advisor terkait hukum, kebijakan, dan HAM, di berbagai lembaga nasional (Kementerian/Lembaga, institusi penegak hukum, lembaga swadaya masyarakat, perusahaan, universitas) maupun regional internasional (United Nations, lembaga internasional, kerja sama antar negara). Banyak diundang sebagai narasumber, trainer, termasuk di wilayah konflik di Indonesia maupun negara lain. Pernah menjadi Dosen di berbagai universitas, antara lain Fakultas Hukum Universitas Katolik Parahyangan dan Fakultas Hukum Universitas Katolik Indonesia Atma Jaya.
Terlibat dalam berbagai advokasi peraturan perundang-undangan di Indonesia, antara lain UU Perlindungan Anak, UU Penghapusan Kekerasan Dalam Rumah Tangga, UU Perlindungan Saksi dan Korban, UU Pemberantasan Tindak Pidana Perdagangan Orang, UU Sistem Peradilan Pidana Anak, Amandemen UU Perkawinan, RUU Sistem Peradilan Keluarga, serta upaya mendorong rafitifikasi, pengesahan, dan pengundangan Konvensi-konvensi internasional hak asasi manusia menjadi Undang-Undang. Aktif dalam proses penyusunan laporan kepada Komite CEDAW dan Komite CRC. Merupakan salah seorang pakar yang giat memperjuangkan diubahnya pengesahan dan pengundangan CRC sebagai Keppres, menjadi UU. Demikian pula gigih menginisiasi, menyusun, dan mengadvokasi RUU Penghapusan Kekerasan Seksual. Tahun 2019, ia diminta Kementerian Pemberdayaan Perempuan dan Perlindungan Anak RI menjadi anggota Tim Ahli Panita Kerja Pemerintah untuk Pembahasan RUU Penghapusan Kekerasan Seksual.
Sejak tahun 2012, hingga akhir 2015 pernah menjadi Anggota Dewan Redaksi SINAR HARAPAN, salah satu koran legendaris tertua di Indonesia.
Berbagai tulisan, cerpen, puisinya dimuat di berbagai media massa dan jurnal, serta dibukukan. Pernah menjadi kolumnis di Pikiran Rakyat dan Sinar Harapan.
Telah menulis berpuluh-puluh buku, antara lain “Pelacur vs His First Lady?” (2004), “Percakapan tentang Feminisme versus Neoliberalisme” (2004) ditulis bersama Arimbi Heroepoetri, “Memberantas Trafiking Perempuan dan Anak” (2007), “Pergulatan Feminisme dan Hak Asasi Manusia” (2007) ditulis bersama Ellin Rozana, “Perlindungan Pekerja Rumah Tangga/Anak di Indonesia” (2008), “Tentang Cinta: Kumpulan Tulisan tentang Perempuan dan Anak” (2009), “Seperti Pagi” (2013), “Ketika Negara Mengatur Kekerasan Seksual” (2020), “100 Tanya Jawab Seputar Kekerasan dan Pelecehan Berbasis Gender di Dunia Kerja” (2020), “Pada Sebuah Pagi: Kumpulan Cerita Pendek” (2020), “Ribut-Ribut Negara Mau Mengatur Keluarga?: Analisis Hukum terhadap Rancangan Undang-Undang Ketahanan Keluarga” (2020), “Kedudukan Hukum Pekerja Rumah Tangga dalam Hubungan Kerja dengan Majikan di Indonesia” (2020), dan “Cinta Itu Bukan Luka: Rahasia Terbebas dari Toxic Relationship” (2020).
Pidato Kebudayaan yang pernah ditulis dan dibacakannya di Gedung Perfilman Usmar Ismail dalam rangka “International Women’s Day”, berjudul “Rasa Cinta (dan Pikir Cinta)” terbit Agustus 2011, diterjemahkan dalam bahasa Inggris “Sense of Love (and Thoughts of Love)”.
Ia telah menerima beberapa penghargaan baik nasional maupun internasional, salah satunya N-Peace Award 2013, sebuah penghargaan internasional bergengsi dari Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa. Tahun 2014, ia menjadi salah seorang the Women on the Rise pilihan GlobeAsia Magazine. Tahun 2015, Peace Women Across the Globe (PWAG) memilihnya sebagai Woman of Peace.
Rotua Valentina Sagala : A loving feminist
Ika Krismantari The Jakarta Post Jakarta / Tue, April 10 2012 / 10:32 am
Rotua Valentina Sagala has broken all of the negative stereotypes female activists are associated with.
People can instantly understand this from their first encounter with the avowed feminist.
Valent, as she is fondly called by close friends and family, stood out among her peers who opted for tomboyish looks one day. Valent was wearing a matching white and red ensemble along with a pearl necklace, not to mention towering white stilettos.
And that apparent contradiction is not only on the surface.
Not only does Valent break the stereotype of feminists having bad fashion sense, the stylist lady also proves that all the negative labeling attached to women striving for gender equality is untrue.
Some in society think feminists are bitter, but Valent shows that feminists can be as loving as any others.
Her new poetry book proves that. After a series of serious essays, papers and publications, Valent has returned with collection of poems that many critics say has been penned with love.
The 34-year-old confirmed to The Jakarta Post in a recent interview that she was in love when writing the poems.
“I don’t hate men. I can fall in love with them, even though it is not wrong to fall for girls either. I also want to learn to cook, one of my passions. Do you think feminists can’t cook? We can, as long as we want to, and not because we are told to, the same thing with love,” she said.
The book Seperti Pagi (Like Morning), however, is not solely about her newly found affection. The writings, which won her the prestigious label of a “feminist poet”, fluently speak of gender equality in very intimate language. The melancholy still offers room for her to criticize a patriarchal world that has been unjust to women.
Putting the love affair aside, Valent remains a true activist, one who tirelessly strives for gender equality and human rights. Her day-to-day activities are filled with female empowerment work at the grassroots as well as government levels.
Valent is currently working on raising public awareness about the deliberation of a new bill on gender equality and equity soon to be passed this year.
“I realize some women’s movements have missed the process. They [legislators] will start the liberation this year. We need to keep an eye on the process, hoping it can turn into some sort of umbrella law for female protection,” she said.
The woman hopes the new law can protect women from unjust treatment, including from unnecessary remarks from government officials that she strongly believes promote misogyny.
“Others may view it as harassment, but I say it is hatred. This country simply hates its women. Hatred appears when you create a guilty feeling among victims,” said the law graduate, referring to a number of statements from government officials who blamed women for being raped or sexually harassed.
Her strong views represent the no-nonsense approach Valent applies in her struggle for gender equality and human rights.
“I can get so mad when facing injustice,” said the woman, who fellow Husein Muhammad of the National Commission on Violence against Women described as a persistent and uncompromising feminist.
Such a tough attitude may stem from her early exposure to feminism itself.
Valent has been familiar with the subject since high school.
Enrolling in the all girls Santa Ursula, Valent had the chance to digest the heavy topic through additional classes set up by the school for high achieving students.
“They gave us gender training and taught us to think critically, to know for example that being poor is not a given but a result of economic injustice,” Valent recalled of her enlightening days in high school.
However, the turning point in her life occurred when young Valent attended a seminar organized by women’s organizations in Jakarta.
“During the dialogue, they gave away leaflets and comics and I was amazed in my school uniform … It was just amazing to know that there are people who strive for women’s rights,” she reminisced of the day when she decided to commit her life to the women’s movement.
Such a serious pledge at a young age was no surprise in Valent’s case. She is someone who has had an interest in humanity since she began reading. She said she was easily moved by social injustices she observed around her.
Valent finally found a home to develop her interests in social issues further on campus, where she interacted with many student activists and organizations.
“I felt a ‘click’ with them [student activists] because I met so many critical persons, who question a lot of things,” Valent explained of the start of her involvement in student movements.
At one point, she found something missing in the social movements in Bandung, as she realized there were no organizations focusing on women’s issues, a fact that encouraged her to establish Institut Perempuan in 1998.
Discussing feminism in Indonesia, Valent recognizes the existence of different schools in the country. However, a self-proclaimed socialist feminist views them as different colors of the rainbow that complete each other instead of competing.
Valent likes to position herself as a facilitator that bridges different parties for having such beliefs.
“I have the ability to listen. I respect people. I usually listen to arguments first but when I know it is wrong, I will say it is wrong,” remarked the lady, who believes the habit came from her diverse educational background.
It was her family that prevented Valent from pursuing a degree in social and human rights, for her parents wanted their only daughter to study economics.
The brilliant woman, however, gave in to her parents’ wish as well as fulfilling her passion as she completed her education with two majors, economics and law, at two different universities, an experience which she says enriched her perspectives in the fight for gender equality.
“I had two different majors, which sometime conflicted with each other. But it helped me to learn to be humble, to always listen to people and I don’t easily judge people,” she explained.
After her book of poetry, Valent is set to realize her next project to establish the Seperti Pagi Foundation, which will provide assistance for women and children who have been victims of crimes through dance, poetry, drawing and cooking.
Valent’s poetry book and the foundation seem to come from the same seeds of love and passion, yet toward different objects — a man and feminism.
The woman, whose first name is Valentine and who admitted that her first love was feminism, said of love, “I believe love to anyone or anything should make someone better.”
Coming from a woman who has shown she is capable of turning love into things that benefit others, who could argue?
This article was published in thejakartapost.com with the title “Rotua Valentina Sagala : A loving feminist”. Click to read: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/04/10/rotua-valentina-sagala-a-loving-feminist.html.
Personal is political for Valentina Sagala
Matheos Viktor Messakh The Jakarta Post Jakarta / Mon, December 22 2008 / 11:05 am
Soeharto’s downfall during the 1998 reform movement prompted the emergence of NGOs, which mushroomed by including big names as their patrons or on their advisory boards.
But that was not the case with Rotua Valentina Sagala.
Valentina founded Yayasan Institut Perempuan (Women’s Institute Foundation) in Bandung in 1998 and believed that flattery would get her nowhere.
“If you have a great will to do something for others, then do it even if you are young or a woman,” the 31-year-old woman told The Jakarta Post recently.
The absence of prominent figures in the foundation meant no parties allocated funding to the foundation. Valentina and her four colleagues knew well that without money they could not do much. They had anticipated that though, and focused only on activities viable to their status as students.
Valentina was just in her second year at Bandung-based Padjadjaran University’s School of Law and at the Parahyangan Catholic University’s School of Economy.
“We really tried to become a resource center by collecting data and providing analysis. All the money come from our own pockets,” she said.
Six years later, they received small grants from independent bodies such as Mama Cash and Terre des Homes, both from the Netherlands.
Despite a shaky start, every assistance has helped the foundation to reach some of their goals.
Although she never claimed to be behind the success of a West Java 2005 bylaw on child protection, she acknowledged that the foundation “was among the first to fight for the elimination of women and child trafficking in West Java”. Three years later, lawmakers agreed to pass a law on human trafficking.
Valentina and her friends also set up community-based groups across West Java to help prevent women and child trafficking as well as domestic violence.
“West Java is one of the provinces that send a huge number of female migrant workers. Some of them fall victim to human trafficking.”
Valentina criticized the government for its tendency to see trafficking as a single problem. In fact it has many faces, which can be traced back to the government’s own policies.
“There are villages being abandoned by their women who prefer to work in cities.”
In fighting for the rights of women and children, Valentina opted to be a feminist, which she perceived as “unique compared to other ideologies as it has its bases of analysis on a women’s own body”.
The feminist mantra, “the personal is political”, challenged every feminist to do what they think, said Valentina.
“It’s about our person and we have to undress ourselves when we talk about feminism. It’s not that we publicly declare that we are against violence but we do it at home.
” Writing has become an escapism for Valentina and her friends since they are dealing with the hideosity of problems affecting women and children. Their habit has gone to a good cause as they periodically publish Her-Story, a journal where women can write everything about their struggle.
The eldest daughter with three brothers, Valentina has learned much about female stereotyping in a male-dominated family.
She said she had been exposed to serious issues such as women’s and children’s rights since she was in the St. Ursula Catholic High School in Jakarta. Only after the May 1998 riots — where thousands of people were killed while hundreds of Chinese women were raped — did she began to realize that injustices existed, especially for women.
“A women’s body is a target of oppression. Sexual violence is a horrifying method. It repeatedly puts women to death,” she said.
The biggest problem for Indonesian women and children was the state’s negligence to recognize, protect and fulfill human rights.
Valentina said Indonesia had ratified international human rights instruments but lacks seriousness in fulfilling these rights.
“We can only talk about justice if basic human rights have been fulfilled, not the other way around.”
The government ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1984, five years after it was adopted by the UN. For Valentina, the ratification — which was later on implemented in Law No.7/1984 — was a setback.
“It stipulated that the implementation of the law must adjust to Indonesian culture. It’s strange because the CEDAW is aimed to affirm women’s rights and not adjust to any culture that might oppress women.”
She slammed government policies such as the fuel price hike or gender-biased curriculum that do side with the people. It is a flat denial of human rights, she said.
On the issue of children’s rights, Valentina said Indonesia had moved forward by amending the Constitution, which now contains valuable articles on children’s rights.
But government policies are still based on the old child welfare paradigm — which says the state is responsible for the welfare of poor people and abducted children.
“What really matters is not how to help poor children, but how to fulfill children’s rights. It’s not about distributing food for kids on streets during Ramadan or by forcibly putting street children into orphanages. It’s about fulfilling their rights as human beings. The Constitution is very good but the logic of our government just doesn’t follow.”
Another fallacy regarding the fulfillment of children’s rights is the ratification of the Children Rights Convention (CRC) only as a presidential decree, instead of as a law.
“All domestic legislation must comply with the convention as soon as it is ratified. But how can we refer to the convention if it is only a presidential decree?”
Indonesia still has problems with the substance of laws, the structure of law as well as its legal culture, Valentina said, who earned her master’s degree in law at Padjadjaran University in 2006.
For Valentina, Indonesia’s human rights movement is still in its early stages, demanding that the state recognize human rights in its laws and regulations.
However, she never loses hope in her fight for the rights of women and children.
“It’s a pity that we make so many regulations and never really implement them. But we’re happy that now more police officers, lawyers, attorneys and judges have a greater concern and sensitivity toward the rights of women and children.”
Rotua Valentina Sagala
Born : Jakarta/Aug. 19, 1977