ABOUT BEING BRAVE

 

translated from Indonesian

A couple days ago, I read my dear friend Inna Hudaya posting with #metoo hashtag, I automatically put myself to wrote my story out. But the effect of what I share to public, goes back to me in waves.

The magnitude of this problem is so huge, I felt like feeling a tsunami or big earthquakes all over again in my life. And the most craziest part of it is that this earthquake come from inside of me.

I decided today to talk clearly and in my mother tongue: Indonesian. I know very well that what I will tell would make the reader feeling very uncomfortable. This writing is made not to make the reader to feel comfortable. But I feel this world have no more time to feel comfortable for the things that has ruins our life completely.

I feel, in talking this, I am talking what has been a taboo in our society. I am talking for my mother, for my grandmother and all the women before me. Also for the future women, my daughter and my granddaughters. For them I am speaking. And for them I wanted to say that: being brave is contagious.

When I was a six years old girl, my male cousin did sexual harassment for two years long. I was always quiet about it and keep it in secret, never talked about it to anyone in my family. He is my first older brother figure in my life that I ever knew in that early stage of life. And instead of protecting me, he crushed everything that I believe about a man in such a young age.

At twenty-six years old, my ex-husband raped me. Because he thinks by raping me, which can make me pregnant again with a second child, our marriage will last. The reason that our marriage was over because I found out that he has been sexually harassing my close female friends, when I was pregnant and breastfeeding my son. I do not need a father for my son that could not respect women. My decision to have a divorce completely done base on this fact.

I can say now that, throughout my pregnancy and my marriage with him for nearly two years, I let myself being raped over and over and over. Because I never wanted it and I even grow sick with sex. And the man that was supposed to protect me, respect me, never respect my words when I said NO. I have to kick him, screaming no continously, but he never listened. I do not know at that time how to say or to tell to other people when I experience violence inside my own house and in my own room. When my son was born, slowly I build up my courage, because my son is the future.

And my ex-husband did this because he thinks by being his wife, am his object. A toy that can be treated as he want and it is my responsibility to serve him. If marriage is something based on this belief, I choose not to marry again. For me, once is enough to be treated as a sexual object only, a thing or a property belong to somebody else.

These two incidents has ingrained and ruined me from the inside. And what is worse, all of this supported by the system that we are living in. When the health system such as the doctor that was supposed to take care of me when I had post-raped trauma, he said and blame me, even laugh at me, harassing me mentally. I go back to him and asked, who in this whole world wanted to be raped, even by their own husband? Sorry, but this perception in Indonesia is madness. They do not believe that there is marital rape, there is rape when you are having a relationship, and there are so many harassment all over the place. And last night I had to ready Dhyta Caturani post, that even the Head of the National Police of this country blame the rape victim.

This is CRAZY. I have to speak out. When even I lost my trust to the head of the national police of this country, to protect and hold the rights of its citizen to feel safe. What kind of leader that lead us, all women, being ruined like this? This country has just done violence against us, did not respect and insult us as women. There is no protection or so ever that we can ever hope from them.

This afternoon I asked myself, what else that I can believe in?

This pain in my chest comes like the waves. Friends who also shared their brave stories the last few days on my post and the ones who sent me personal messages. We are like hugging each other and cried ourselves out while holding hands together. We can only take care of each other with our own power. If we can wash away our wound with our tears, we are doing it. We will wash away ourselves while standing upright. Letting our tiredness to be sucked by earth, our true mother and we have the power to continue our lives. To take care and mend our womb, to heal them, so then we would not born again another generation that are full of pain and wound of violence.

Just last week I gave a testimony recording the domestic violence in Indonesia and all kind of violence that happen to my body. Either personal, by the state and also by the system. Also this year, I experience battering from my ex-boyfriend while I was overseas. I am very grateful for my friends all over the world, my guru and also my good friends in Nepal, that has been guarding me to go through this process. I know, all these events will make me grow to be way stronger as a woman and also as a being.

I even said that if I become the path where all my experiences can be useful for everybody to reflect, feeling what every women who experience violence feel. I offer myself. Whatever has happened now could be transform to be the strength to speak out.

My studies on history teaches me how this country, this civilization treat women.

We have lost all our respect towards woman. Towards our mother. All kind of violence can happen to any women, no matter who they are. I wanted to ask to every man who did violence against woman, did you not see in their eyes: your mother, your grandmother, your wife, your partner, your sister or your daughters? Are you too numb to feel if something you do happen to them also?

Had we lost our humanity and kindness inside ourself, hey human? This is the big question. And by not wanting to acknowledge this problem, not caring about this issue, by ignoring all this by saying that this problem does not exist, you are contributing in letting the world trap in the cycle of violence, again and again.

I see and I feel, why is it so easy for us to ruin our natural world, ruining our own mother, our own home. Mining the mountain and polluting our sea. Ruining the whole ecosystem. Throwing plastic everywhere. Burning out forest and so easy to cut all the trees that is shading our lives. For greed, we ruin the deepest essence of our being.

For me, mother earth, is the deepest love existed. Unconditional love. She let everything happen even when us, human, her children, raped her over and over, ruining her without thinking about the future or even ourselves.

But I know, in her love, she is not silence. We as human has to carefully see all these things. Nature gave her signs. And this is all because of love and not because of fear.

Human lived with fear. Fear of being hungry, fear of never having enough, fear of not being enough, fear of offending others, fear to speak out, fear to live, fear to die, and etc. This cycle of fear is never ending because you, yourself keep on feeding them.

I feel it is time for us to speak out without fear. It is time for us to shed the light from what has been holding us to talk about painful things and find its solution. To heal the wound inside ourselves, woman and man. To find out our own world balance. Together and not alone anymore.

I am grateful that I am always surrounded with kindness. I still have the ability to trust human after all that I been through. I believe in raising my son to become a good man, I believe that there is still many good people in this world when we still wanted to believe and do what we believe in. I believe with kindness like I also believe in the ways that we can talk about our darkness.

Kandy, Sri Lanka, 20 October 2017