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Breaking The Taboo

A sex educator living in Indonesia, Inez Kristanti has turned social media to be the voice of the younger generation to share their sexual experiences and help them find their voice.

As a clinical psychologist and sex educator, what are some of the assumptions and biases that you faced throughout your career?

Maybe it came from within as I started out at a very young age and I’m tiny built. All this led me to believe that I will not be taken seriously by others. But I turned all that around and it helped me to listen to other people.

Throughout your journey as a sex educator, have you received any backlash where people wonder what are you saying and rate your credibility? How has especially in today’s day and age where social media has become a very free and accessible platform. How do you deal with negative comments?

To think of it, I don't receive many negative comments; but I feel really grateful as people appreciate what I do. They see that I’m trying to do my best to talk about sexuality in a healthy and safe manner. I also have an open-door policy where I welcome constructive criticism that will help me improve my methods in educating others.

In a country where sexual discussion is still considered very taboo and people are still hesitant to share their experiences; what inspired you to resort to social media; Instagram in particular, to start talking about sex and being a sexual educator?

In trying to make our voices heard and to make quite a big impact towards others; we need to speak their language and package the content in a way that will relate to them. As many people tend to refer to social media such as Instagram to get their information; so yeah, why not?

What is the change that you foresee in the next say five years?

What I hope can happen is to normalize a more open discussion on sexuality, so we can understand better about our own sexuality, our own body, and our rights. So, we can make responsible decisions with our sexuality based on the information that we have.

Can you walk us through the one moment or multiple moments in your life where you felt the bravest?

It's actually when I managed to overcome my doubts about myself and just take a step forward.

In the past four years of your journey as a psychologist, what is the biggest challenge that you’ve faced?

Ok, so this is a bit personal, but sometimes people assume that if you're psychologist, you can manage your own problems and everything. I might be assuming when I said people, but I actually did think that way; which is not actually true. As psychologists, we can have our own issues and we are allowed to reach out for help or just to talk to someone else. Simply because our profession is about helping others, doesn’t mean we sometimes don’t need help. I think we need to normalise that everyone - no matter what their profession is- can have their own challenges and it's OK to talk to someone or to get help in any way.

How did you get over this challenge?

The first the first big step is admitting it and that also supported by friends. When you talk to someone else, you can gain more perspective on what you actually need and then go from there. Take the first steps.

The last question, how has Kartini inspired you?

I think I really admire her critical thinking, so I think that kind of inspired me to keep asking questions, to be curious, and also open to more knowledge. Kartini is someone who is brave and she also has like the critical thinking to challenge what she thinks OK that can be changed. She dares to ask questions and that’s what inspires me the most. She makes me want to grow more as a person.

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