trenddjakarta.com – The Visions of Peace Initiative and HQ Creative LLC are proud to have worked together and co-produced “Holy Prostitution-Pelacuran ‘Suci’”.
“Holy Prostitution-Pelacuran ‘Suci’” is an important documentary that presents the experiences of a young, Indonesian female minor who was placed into a Mut’ah marriage, otherwise known as a contractual marriage, by her parents. The practice of Mut’ah marriage is regarded by many as an exploitative form of prostitution and is widely banned by both religious and legal authorities. Kyai Kakan Sukandi, a representative of the Ulama Council, explained, ”The public needs to be educated that Mut’ah marriage is a phenomenon that cannot be condoned. It is a phenomenon that must not be allowed to continue, both according to Islamic and Indonesian law.”
“Holy Prostitution-Pelacuran ‘Suci’” portrays a teenage victim’s anguished ordeal, through her own testimony and with accompanying re-enactments. Princess Natasha Dematra and Princess Cheryl Halpern, the co-directors of the documentary, inspired by the courage of this young woman to share her story, are committed to educating audiences, through the screenings, to put a stop to the practice of Mut’ah marriages.
In Indonesia, the documentary has been screened in a number of schools and venues, primarily in West Java, where the Mut’ah marriages most frequently occur. To date, more than 10,000 Indonesian youth, both females and males, have seen the film. As Princess Natasha Dematra has explained, “This Mut’ah marriage phenomenon has damaged our youth both physically and emotionally. I hope that by screening, through what I call our ‘educational road show,’ that we can help stop the Mut’ah marriage phenomenon.”
The most recent screening took place in Bogor at SMK Pesat, a school acknowledged for providing both vocational and academic training to students recognized as emerging talent. After viewing the documentary, Madame Lida Hasanah, Chairwoman of the Pesat Foundation, noted, “We have to applaud this film. We have to be a generation of women that are strong enough to fight this abusive practice.” Teachers who were in the audience echoed Madame Hasanah’s comments and collectively added, “We wish that everyone can watch this film, especially young girls, so that they do not get trapped in a Mut’ah marriage.”
The question and answer sessions that have taken place after each screening are indicative of how impactful the film has been with the student audiences. There have been those who acknowledge awareness of similar Mut’ah stories and have asked what options do they have in order to protect themselves? Others have asked what can be done to make the local government and police more responsive? Many have expressed their dismay that in 2023 teenagers are victimized by the collusion of family with consenting religious leaders.
Earlier this year, the documentary was screened by the New Generation in Action as part of the United Nations Committee on the Status of Women meeting. Princess Cheryl Halpern explained to the international gathering, “This documentary allows us to hear the testimony of one minor victim of a Mut’ah marriage. There are still many from whom we have not as yet heard. We hope that others will learn from this young woman and will not be afraid to speak out. Your voices matter and must not be ignored.”
In addition to the screenings within Indonesia, and at the UN, this documentary has been screened in cities around the world including Mumbai, Paris, Moscow, Stockholm, Milan, Cannes, and New York City, to name but a few. It has consistently received awards as a best educational documentary and as a best women’s documentary.
The Visions of Peace Initiative is excited to expand its endeavors to promote peace and civility through its partnership with Emmy Award-winning HQ Creative LLC. As Princess Cheryl Halpern has noted, “Working together we are committed to encouraging peaceful coexistence and countering abusive behavior. We are proud that we are currently collaborating in an effort to halt sexual trafficking. This is a global abuse that must be stopped.”(***)