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
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Ending Gender-Based Violence 2012.