Gender and sexual socialisation are important processes that influence sexual behaviour and (risks to) health and wellbeing, yet they are rarely studied from young people’s points of view. Furthermore, in Indonesia (as in many other settings), research and interventions related to youth sexual and reproductive health often take a health or risk-based approach, with an explicit or implicit focus on preventing pre-marital sex. Such approaches often omit a broader focus on the context surrounding young people and its influence on their sexual and reproductive values and behaviours. Specifically, there is little examination of how young people in contemporary Indonesia navigate the, often conflicting, forces of traditional Indonesian values, media and globalisation, peer norms, personal and relational interests, and the strong emerging force of conservative Islam.
The Youth Voices Research seeks to address these gaps. Placing young people at the centre by involving them as co-researchers, the study aimed to understand how young people aged 18 to 24 experience and navigate different messages, norms and expectations regarding gender and sexuality and how this is manifest through online romantic and sexual behaviour.
Youth Voices Research is one of three research tracks within a larger four-year Rutgers programme, Explore4Action (E4A), which investigates the factors that influence adolescents to make positive and healthy transitions to adulthood, and if and how comprehensive sexuality education can support this transition. E4A is carried out in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University, Karolinska Institute, the Centre for Reproductive Health of Gadjah Mada University Yogyakarta (UGM), and PKBI (Indonesia Planned Parenthood Association).