Domestic Violence in My Family; Bali Indonesia

ni widari
Posted September 10, 2012 from Indonesia

My name is Sri Purna Widari and I am called Purna.

I am a 28 years old single woman who was born and bred in Bali Indonesia.

My father is an active police man and my deceased mother was a civil servant.

My father grew up without a father figure who had passed away since he was 4 years old. He was abandoned by her mother who entrusted him to the older and the younger brothers of my grandfather to marry another man.

My father has always told me that he was grateful to still have people who were willing to raise him up, to send him to school, and to give him foods. However, he also needed to accept the consequences that his foster parents were abusive and discriminative.

He told me that he was once was hit by a hammer till he passed out. He was also discriminated by his cousins and when he wanted to look for a shelter to my grandmother, she did not really embrace him with love.

He grew up as a loveless child who seemed to perceive physical abuse as a way to enforce discipline and is allowed to do when someone went too far.

Meanwhile, my deceased mother grew up with a complete family with 6 siblings. Her mother was the one who wore the pants in the house. She was discriminated to her daughters like how most of the traditional Balinese families are. She was hit by a stick when she was late to wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning to help my grandmother to prepare the food and one day she told me that her head was even pressed down in a mud when she did mistakes.

The similarities between both of my parents were that they received the abuse without fighting against it. They both were raised being dictated to stay silent even when they were right because they would be considered insurgent and sinful to God if they dared to speak up and they expected me to do the same thing.

When I was a child and particularly a teenager, I often saw my parents’ heated argument. Usually it was about how cruel my mother was treated by my father’s family or about their financial situations.

My father told me that he has told my mother to never insult his past childhood being a poor and a foster kid because he was really hurt himself having that background. He told my mother that if he heard again those belittling remarks for three times, he would hit her. Apparently he really did it because my mother kept patronizing him using those hurtful words.

There was one day when the physical abuse to my mother was the worst I have ever seen in my life and that memory was still vivid in my mind. They had a quarrel about something and my dad hit her face that her eyes were bleeding. When I tried to stop him from doing it and to calm him down, I was also hit in my forehead and I was really dizzy.

I was quite a rebel when I was a teenager. I escaped from school to hang out with my friends and my school’s teacher reported it to him. Being furious to what I did, he beat me up with a belt when I arrived at home. Apart from that when I received bad marks from school; I also would get the same punishment.

When I was in senior high school, he slapped me in my face when I spoke up about which program I wanted to take. He was upset that I did not take the program he expected me to choose. I was also thrown a soya bean sauce plastic bottle at my eyes by my mother when we had disagreement about a very trivial thing. One of my eyes was swollen yet I insisted to go to school.

I have a younger sister who was hardly abused by my parents because she was more obedient and repressive. However, often when I was frustrated with my parents and she did not want to listen to me or understand how I felt, I unleashed my rage to her. I beat her up twice till she passed out and I felt really awful doing that to her.

The last time I was beaten up was when I had disagreement a couple of years ago when my father had a relationship with a new woman at four months after the death of my mother. At that time I fought back and I did not tolerate it anymore.

It is really hard to write down these experiences because they were excruciatingly painful to recall. In a way I wish my father would apologize to me after what he did yet he always had excuses that he did them for the right reasons. I hardly discussed it anymore with him because I was afraid that it would trigger another pain which would lead to another drama.

In Bali Indonesia, domestic violence is still one of the main causes of divorce cases apart from adultery yet more and more women nowadays were braver to take a stance to leave and fight for their rights.

And as I am expressing it openly now, I honestly still feel heavy to admit that there were certain things I have not been able to forgive yet writing it down seems to be a catharsis for me to forgive myself and my parents’ physical abuses, to let go and rise above it.

I am supporting all women in the world to fight against domestic violence and I really hope more and more women speak up to condemn this behavior.

With love from Bali, Purna

Ending Gender-Based Violence 2012

Comments 14

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Olutosin
Sep 10, 2012
Sep 10, 2012

I can actually identify with what you are writing. We were made to believe that hitting and hitting us is tthe right way to train us. It is well, we will change the way we think, act and react.

Forgive, it is not easy, but we just have to. Lots of Love darling.

elian
Sep 11, 2012
Sep 11, 2012

I was also a domestic violence victim..little did i knew that i was trapped in a battered-wife syndrome. But having realized that i have to step up and rise above the situation for my two children, that was the only time that i embraced back serenity in life. It was hard at first, but cutting the rope with my then partner was worth it. We should know our rights. Women now are empowered..

ni widari
Sep 12, 2012
Sep 12, 2012

Hello strong women,

I really appreciate both your comments... I must admit that it is really hard to accept it...

But now I am committed to be an advocate for this issue in my island and I need all your supports...

Much love, Purna

sanjay dixit
Sep 12, 2012
Sep 12, 2012

Hello Sri Purna Widari, Please read my journal on Humans Planet Earth and ACM to help solve your problems. With Best Wishes, Mr Sanjay Dixit Mumbai,India

LauraB
Sep 23, 2012
Sep 23, 2012

Puma,

You have such clarity about the history of your parents. Beaten down, they in turn unleashed their frustrations on you. Now you have clarity about your story, your desire to forgive, and your eagerness to listen to those who have gone through similar experiences. Such strength and vitality that pulses through you!

All my best,

Laura

ni widari
Sep 24, 2012
Sep 24, 2012

Hi Laura,

It is hard...believe me.... It took years to let go...

Thank you for reading my experiences. I really appreciate it.

Regards, Purna

Caroline Gujarati
Sep 25, 2012
Sep 25, 2012

Purna,

Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are very brave to speak out about this situation in your family. So many women share your experience, and I hope this will show them that they too can tell their story. It is already happening in the comments on this post! Please continue to be strong, and know that there are people here who will support you.

Katie Welford
Sep 26, 2012
Sep 26, 2012

Dear Purna,

Thank you so much for sharing this deeply personal story. It really helps to give context and understanding on the cycle of violence, when parents are themselves subject to abuse by their parents. You provide a both personal perspective but also capture some of the common experiences of other Indonesians....I wonder if you have a vision of a way forward for these cycles of violence to be broken? How can women be supported to speak up? Thank you again for putting these words down. Katie

ni widari
Sep 27, 2012
Sep 27, 2012

Hi Katie,

Your reply opened my eyes. I will make this writing in Indonesian and explain what I have been through and what the impacts that have affected my life in a good and bad way...

I will publish it in Indonesian, so other women will start speaking up.

Thank you for reading my post...

Katie Welford
Sep 27, 2012
Sep 27, 2012

Well that sounds amazing! Good luck doing that...I think you are a wonderful woman! Katie

sarahgustavus
Sep 28, 2012
Sep 28, 2012

Purna,

Thank you for sharing your story. Women like you who have the strength to step forward first are very important to give other women courage. You also made an important connection between your family and broader issues of violence in your community. I appreciate your honesty that you have not figured everything out yet and are still in a process of dealing with your own emotions and memories. I'd like to hear even more from you. What would you do for a young Indonesian women who is in the same position right now? Can women work together to support parents who grew up with abuse?

Keep writing. Your perspective is very important!

Sarah

ni widari
Sep 28, 2012
Sep 28, 2012

Hi Strength,

I have figure out a way to do it because as reading all your responds, I am even more aware on the impacts on the way I live and deal with others in my adulthood and I would like parents in Bali to realize this before it happens to their own kids.

Thank you for supporting me and I will keep updating my progress.

Myrthe
Sep 30, 2012
Sep 30, 2012

Purna, you are very brave to talk so openly about your personal experiences with domestic violence. You show how difficult it is to break the cycle of violence and how easily the violence is passed on to the next generation. Your story gives an understanding of how this cycle of violence works.

I believe you are a powerful agent for change, especially because of your own background and experiences. You are also an example for other women in the same situation. Thank you for speaking up and sharing your story!

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Oct 02, 2012
Oct 02, 2012

Dear Purma, Thank you so much for your story and many women round the world can read and relate to you in many ways. The best way is to forgive and let go and you will be a better person to help those who have a similar situation. Stay blessed my sister and i am with you in spirit. Always be strong for yourself and others. Lots of love