Why do we label women who speak up as emotional bitch? That she needs to take a chill pill or maybe she’s on her period and on a PMS rampage? Why do we don’t allow these voices to be heard?
When Women Speak Up
My heart breaks every time I heard the untold stories being shared among our support group, Single Moms Indonesia. Of the shame-ridden shadows behind their eyes. Seeing them taking their walls down as stories of pain, abuse and betrayals came tumbling down.
“It’s ok to cry…”
Collectively we acknowledge their need to let it all out.
To heaved those burdens that they’ve been carrying for what seems like forever, alone…
Right then and there.
In that room with nearly 20 women.
We let our voices be heard.
We allowed our stories to unfold.
We assured each other that our stories matter.
The women banded together and give out not only advice but also encouraging words of wisdom. Something that the struggling new members desperately need.
Stories that were too taboo, too embarrassing to share with others for fears of being judged and being labeled as utter shame.
This is why it is important to have a regular meet-up for our support group and last month we just rolled out our first monthly gathering event.
“Did you hit your wife too?”
The above line clearly shows how domestic violence could really wreak havoc on the victim’s mental health. They began to justify that the pain they endure, and the torture are ‘normal’. One of our members shared how she questioned her own brother to see if he too – like her soon-to-be-abusive-ex-husband – hit his wife. Everyone quickly said no no and assured her that is not normal! No one should be hitting anyone! Violence is never the answer.
In our group, we shared signs of both physical and emotional abuse and most survivors didn’t even realize there’s a name to those ‘weird’ behaviors. We discussed what gaslighting looks like. A collective “Yes” was raised among those who experienced domestic violence before. A joint understanding of “I’ve been there before.” rose to the surface and they comforted each other.
Here in Indonesia most domestic violence goes unreported, hidden behind ‘never air your family’s dirty laundry as you will cause shame to the clan. Some women felt too ashamed to come forward, and some feared for the livelihood of their family if the husband gets arrested especially if the women have no other means to support themselves. Whatever the reasons are, we need to listen to these voices. They are victims of abuse. Educating them that their lives matter, their voices heard and that we can do something to protect and help these women and their children whose lives have been scarred by the abuse.
The picture of domestic abuse and the horror that haunts the victims are real issues and we at Single Moms Indonesia try our best to lend a supporting, safe, and judgment-free zone for our members. Where those who survived and are now thriving could inspire those who are newly separated or newly found their strength to speak up against their abuser.
When women speak up, it’s not because we hate men or we are a bunch of feminist bitches! It’s because we want to have a better future for our daughters, for our children, and for all women.
Will you listen when a woman speaks up?
Will you take a stand?