Women, men rise to end violence

Women, men rise to end violence
Hundreds of people take part in the One Billion Rising movement at the Taman Ismail Marzuki arts center in Central Jakarta on Saturday to lend support to the global movement to put an end to violence against women.

Valentine's Day is traditionally known as a day couples spend together celebrating their love. But for hundreds of volunteers and visitors at Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) arts centre in Central Jakarta on Saturday, Feb. 14 was day to put an end to violence against women.

Not only women, but also dozens of men took part in the One Billion Rising movement, dancing in a sea of red for the cause.

In Jakarta, the event was first held in 2013 in the National Monument (Monas) Park in Central Jakarta. It has been an annual event since then.

Event coordinator Efi Sri Handayani said the event aimed to increase awareness of violence against women, which is still rampant in Indonesia.

"There are still many acts of violence against women in Indonesia, a lot of which go unreported. Indonesia is a patriarchal society and the law often does not favour women," Efi told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the event.

She cited last year's Transjakarta sexual assault case where four employees sexually harassed an unconscious woman. The four men were sentenced to mere months in prison while the victim must endure a lifetime of trauma.

"We still have a long way to go to put a stop to violence against woman in Indonesia. However, I know that we can put a stop to it, even slowly," Efi said.

She said the event in Indonesia this year was not only held in Jakarta but also in Makassar, Surabaya, Poso, Malang, Semarang, Bandung, Yogyakarta and Medan.

The campaign is also marked on Feb. 14 in hundreds of other cities around the globe.

Aside from the flash mob, events included flying lanterns and performances from Chikita Fauzi, Titi Jalanan, Yacko and DJ Bolski, DJ Dylan and DJ Indra 7, as well as poetry reading.

"We also have a corner where visitors can voice their concerns about violence against woman by writing a note that everyone can read," Efi said.

Volunteer Alfa Gumilang said he was concerned about increasing cases of violence against women and had signed up as a volunteer to understand more about the movement. "I have learned a lot from One Billion Rising. I think the most important thing is how I will apply what I've learned to bring an end to violence against women," he said.

Alfa went on to say that violence against women in Jakarta, whether physical or psychological, was common. Yet, he said, most violence was seen as justified or went unreported.

Moreover, he said, the government had so far not done enough about the issue and said he hoped the country's leaders could learn from the movement. "Because in the end, the government is responsible for what happens to its people."

One visitor, Aquino Hayunta, said the event was a fun way to increase awareness among both men and women.

"Each year, we see an increase in violence against women. This means that women are becoming more aware, while men aren't getting any smarter," said Aquino, who is also a member of the Aliansi Laki-Laki Baru (New Men's Alliance), a community that strives for women's rights on the assumption that the patriarchal mentality that supports men's dominance also harms men.

He went on that Indonesia's patriarchal mentality forced men to act powerful and tough against women, a common cause of violence against women. "It's actually really tiring and really unnecessary to act more powerful and tougher than women."

Aquino said he hoped more men would learn from the movement and help bring an end to violence against women.

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