Dancing queens: Australians Aya, Kate and Dani (left to right) dance with local women’s activists as part of a One Billion Rising for Justice Indonesia event at Monas, Central Jakarta, on Friday. The activity is held on Feb. 14 every year as a symbol of global solidarity for gender equality and opposition to violence against women. (JP/Jerry Adiguna)
They danced, sang and shared stories for one purpose: To end violence against women.
Hundreds of people took part in a flash mob at the National Monument (Monas) in the blistering heat on Friday afternoon to show solidarity with female victims of violence.
The event, organized by One Billion Rising Indonesia, was also simultaneously held in six other cities across the country, including Bandung in West Java, Semarang in Central Java and Legian in Badung, Bali. Last year, Indonesia was among 207 countries that took part in the global campaign.
This year, the organization’s website, www.onebillionrising.org, presented the theme of “One billion rising for justice”, calling on survivors to break their silence and share their stories through various creative forms, such as through art, dance, song and testimonies.
“My boyfriend used to tell me what to do. After studying criminology, I learned that as a woman, I have the right to say whatever I want to say and wear whatever I want to wear,” Anggi Herna, a participant, told The Jakarta Post.
Delila, another participant, said she took part in the event because she was concerned about violence against children and rampant rape across the country.
Besides singing along with singers Oppie Andaresta, Mian Tiara, Kartika Jahja and the Simponi (Music Syndicate of Earth Dwellers) band, the participants also shook their hips with Bellydance Jakarta members and shared their reasons for joining the campaign.
The live streaming video of the event got almost 1,000 views.
The event saw a larger turnout of male participants compared to last year. One of them, Alfa Gumilang, said he escaped from work to participate in the flash mob, saying that it was his way of expressing his love during Valentine’s Day.
“As a man, I feel the need to join the campaign to end violence against women. I always grow angry when I read about sexual abuse cases, especially when the perpetrators are more powerful,” he said. Dylan Utomo, a musician, wore a bright pink miniskirt to show his solidarity and to voice his irritation over social stigmas that continued to blame how victims of sexual abuse dressed. He said that this was his second time taking part in the movement.
“I believe that men and women are equal. Some people still think that women wearing miniskirts are asking for harassment,” he said.
In 2011, activists were outraged over a statement from former governor Fauzi Bowo in which he said that women should not wear miniskirts when riding public transportation vehicles to avoid any unwanted consequences.
His comments came in the wake of two gang rapes involving women in public transportation minivans. Later, he apologized for making the comments.
The nationwide number of reports of violence against women remains high. In 2012, The National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) recorded 211,822 cases of violence against women, 4,336 of which were sexual abuse cases.
Meanwhile, according to United Nation statistics, one in three women will be beaten or raped during their lifetime.
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