Tuesday, March 9, 2010

After reporting husband's beating, mother loses her children and home (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Women in the west like to think that we have moved beyond this kind of situation--where mothers lose their children and are left destitute for reporting dometic violence. However, this is no longer the case as our laws continue to regress to reflect more "traditional" mores.

This woman (identified as Ester) lost her children, her home, and all her belongings when she reported her husband's beating to the authorities. This is another case of an UNNAMED DAD.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010 11:19

Trapped in violence

Trisha Sertori , The Jakarta Post

When a Balinese woman reports abuse, it is likely she will lose everything, even her children.

For seven long years, 35-year-old Ester from Negara (name and hometown changed to protect her identity) was beaten by her husband.

He lived with another woman following the birth of their second child — another girl.

“Maybe he was angry that I didn’t have a boy. Balinese men want boys. Since the birth of my second daughter, nine years ago now, my husband has lived with another woman in Denpasar and I lived in the kampung with our children and his parents.

“My husband came home once a month and after sex, he would verbally abused me. Around once every three months he beat me, threw things at me, anything at hand…”

At the beginning while she was still living with his parents in the compound, she recalls, his parents tried to help.

“They felt sorry for me and my husband was embarrassed. But then my father in law stated also living polygamously with three wives. Since then, he no longer cared about what was happening,” says Ester.

Her belief that not producing a boy child may have been one of the causes of violence in her home is supported by a recent study at Gadjah Mada University, which shows “the preference for a son in Balinese families was a factor that led to domestic violence in that province,” says Nur from Rifka Annisa women’s shelter in Yogyakarta.

Ester reported the beatings to the Bali Police two years ago. Since then, she has lost her children, her home and all her valuables. She cannot afford a lawyer. The only help she believes is available to her is through the Integrated Service Center for Women’s Empowerment (P2TP2) in Denpasar.

“I can never again go home. I live with my parents. I can never see my children. For seven years, I did not report the violence because I was too frightened and I had no support from my parents in law.

In the end I had to report this. I want to protect my children from this. I want some intervention,” says Ester.

Her sobs down the phone line a hint of the agony she endures minute by minute.

“All I want is to see my children, to see their eyes and know they are safe and cared for. Everything I have is still at the home of my parents in-law. I now live with my parents, but I am scared for my children.”

She was even willing to stay married and in the relationship in order not to disturb the family or her children, she adds.

“I did all I could but seven years is a long time not to be valued and beaten.”

In reporting domestic violence, Ester risked everything. When asked if it was worth it, if life may have been better living with abuse, she is adamant.

“I believe the future can only be better. It could never be as bad as the past,” says Ester.

Ester reported the beatings to the Bali Police two years ago. Since then, she has lost her children ...