Violence [noun]: vi.o.lence
- The use of physical force as to injure, abuse, damage or destroy.
- An instance of violent treatment or procedure.
Taken from Merriam Webster Online Dictionary
Just a week ago we celebrated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It honestly took us quite a while to decide how to bring up this issue as we’d like to address this in a lighter way. But who are we kidding? When we’re talking about violence and women, it needs to be taken seriously as it is something that's too often sweeped under the carpet.
Just recently, The National Commission of Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM) stated that up until today there are still plenty of violence cases against women remaining unresolved and unprotected. Some recent cases that have attracted the attention of society include the sexual harassment done to a state university student during her community service and a woman jailed for her attempt to record a sexually harassing conversation by her boss. Not to mention the cyber violence that’s on the rise these days. During the end of 2017 alone, there are 65 different cases of cyber-violence against women reported, mostly done by people close to the victim such as boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, and husbands. (Data taken from Tempo.co)
As a part of this society, this reality gives us great sorrow. Women are always looked upon partially and that if any kind of abuse happens to us, it is always our fault. When men catcall or touch a woman without her permission, it is almost always viewed as a mere joke. Whereas, women who try to defend themselves or report an action that breaches her boundaries are told to be quiet and forget what happened. Countless women every single day experience verbal & nonverbal abuse, physical violence, body shaming, cyber-bullying, sexual assault and plenty other forms of violence that evokes a feeling of rejection, inferiority, insecurity, and low self-esteem. Some of them ended up feeling depressed and even gone suicidal. And to think of this lightly, or as a "mere joke", would definitely be a crime against human rights.
Moreover, what so much gives us a heart for this issue is because our very own team member has had a personal share of this issue. This is her story:
“My ex-husband was my high-school boyfriend, which I dated for 8 years. Before our wedding, I found out that he was close with plenty of other women. It was a red flag alright, but I was too blinded so I decided to proceed with the wedding. At some point in the marriage, he quit his job so every expense he made had to use the money I worked for us. But it turned out, he used up the money to buy gifts for another woman. I was so hurt so I decided to talk to my friends to calm myself down. Apparently, it pisses him off so much that I do this and he started hitting me. Sometimes it was a push to the wall, other times it was a slap, a choke, and finally a knife aimed at me with him saying, ‘you know I can just kill you’. After this happened, I finally decided to take a stand for myself. I left the house, visited a psychiatrist, and told my friends and father. I was lucky to get such wonderful support because my ex-husband & his family played victim and blamed everything on me. However I was firm with my decision and gradually learned how to love myself to recover from everything. Now, I am happier and had accepted all that’s happened. I would really love for my experience to be helpful for others going through the same thing. ”
Hearing her story really gave us the spark to spread a message to all women that it’s mandatory to know how to take a stand for yourself and having to go through all of this doesn’t mean that you’re worth any less. Because most women are never taught to speak up or defend ourselves when something like this happened. Even worse, we even think it’s our fault.
“You see, when a violence like this happened we women would always think it’s our fault. So it was I who felt guilty and apologized even though the mistake was actually his.” -anonymous
If any of you reading this post has went through cases of violence or know someone that do, please don’t be scared to do something about it. First, know that it’s not your fault. Don’t blame it all on yourself and feel that you’re the only one responsible for the things that has happened. Next, talk to someone about it. Going through something like this alone is tiring, lonely and depressing. So confide in someone and find all the support you can get. Those who love you will protect you and try their best to resolve the issue. Lastly, take action. Do something to get out of the danger. Report the abuser, find a way out, do whatever it takes to keep yourself safe and sane. Because every person is entitled to feel secure, it is a basic necessity that needs to be fulfilled. So please, strive to find it. Love yourself first.
On this note, we would also like to encourage women to do something for the future. As a mother of two, Kania (our Founder and Creative Director) feels it is important for us to teach our children, boy and girl, to know how to behave and treat themselves, others and the opposite gender in this matter. Below are her own words:
"As a mother of two raising both a boy and a girl, I am fully conscious that it's absolutely essential to teach them about self-love so they learn the value of their worth. I believe this is how they build strength, confidence and will not take anything less than what they deserve. It's also extremely important that children are able to express and address their emotions, and it's our job to tell them that it's okay to be angry, be offended, or might as well attack back if necessary (boy or girl, same case for me). Too often we are told to suppress our feelings or anger and that subconsciously shapes oppression in a person. Children should be taught how and when to protect themselves and to walk away from harmful situations.
Raising a boy in today's society also opens my eyes that it's vital for him to know how to treat and respect women with dignity. Touching without consent is not okay, making jokes about their body is not okay, tickling them is not okay, making a girl feel uncomfortable is not okay and that no means no. It truly takes great conscious to change a generation, and it's really up to us whether we are raising a weak individual or a bully OR we can choose to raise our children into respectful, decent human beings that make this world a better place."
"It truly takes great conscious to change a generation, and it's really up to us to choose to raise our children into respectful, decent human beings that make this world a better place."
-Kania Annisa Anggiani
So stand up, women. Be brave and let's strive to make a change. It all starts with all of us going strong together and with that, create an impact that will echo for generations to come.
If you are a victim of violence, know a victim, or simply want to report a violence you witnessed, please contact the National Commision on Violence Against women hotline 021 - 3903963 or email them at [email protected]
Text by Kania Annisa Anggiani & Karina Leviani
Photographs by Asita Yulia
Creative Direction by Kania Annisa Anggiani