One Billion Rising: Men stand up for cause

Defending women against violence is personal for Gery Paulandika, a 27-year-old graphic designer.
“I grew up watching my father assault my mother,” he said on the sidelines of a children’s drawing event at the Women’s Festival — part of the One Billion Rising campaign — in Cikini, Central Jakarta, on Saturday afternoon.
Gery stressed that he did not want what had happened to his mother happen to other women and that being a volunteer at the event was one way to defend women’s right to live a violence-free life. “I used to draw posters and pictures with social issues — such as the antiviolence campaign — as the context,” he said.
Gery is one of many One Billion Rising Indonesia participants who became a volunteer to continue the campaign.
He participated in a flash mob dance with over 300 people to show solidarity with female victims of violence at the National Monument (Monas) Park in Central Jakarta on Valentine’s Day this year.
One Billion Rising Indonesia initiator Shera Pringgodigdo said she was glad that more men were becoming involved in the movement.
“Most of our volunteers are men,” she said, adding that anyone was welcome to be involved.
Dhyta Caturani, one of the activists in One Billion Rising Indonesia, earlier said that the Women’s Festival was a part of a series of events to commemorate International Women’s Day and part of the campaign against violence against women.
“It’s important to have many events to draw attention to the campaign so people do not forget about violence against women,” she said.
The coordinator of gender equality movement Gerakan Laki Laki Baru (New Men’s Alliance), Syaldi Sahude, who also took part in the event, said that the participation of men in the campaign was important because most women were assaulted by men.
“So, it is the men who need to be involved,” he said, adding that people needed to change their perspective.
Syaldi said men still held important positions that were instrumental to the creation of public policies that affect the life of women.
He explained that there were three types of men in society: the perpetrators; those who did not commit the violence but stayed silent; and those who were against violence toward women.
Gerakan Laki Laki Baru aims to encourage men who opposed violence to speak up and take part in the movement to prevent it.
Syaldi believes that men usually listen to advice from their male friends’ rather than from women.
He reflected on his childhood and said that growing up in a conservative family, he was never told not to hurt women. “Conservative families usually warn their daughters to be careful, so they will not be harassed sexually,” Syaldi said, explaining that the most effective way to break the cycle of violence was through education.
“But they never teach their sons not to sexually harass women.”
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) national program officer, Dwi Faiz, said, “Both women and men should actively work together to balance their relations.” (cor)
Sumber: The Jakarta Post

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