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Another Story from Indonesia Domestic Workers

There it was ... a 60-second news on Tarsih's misery, a domestic worker from Karawang, East Java, who is treated badly by her employer but could not do anything else but to pray that this is all just a nightmare.She was raped, kicked, punched and all she could do was to be silent.

She is considered 'lucky' because she had the chance to run and ask protection from Indonesian Embassy. There are many others who are still in the hand of unknown miseries. Through her cry, she tries to speak to the world, that her tears wasn't the first one and sadly won't be the last either...

Indonesia government has tried to solve the problems faced by these domestic workers. However, the speed of problems growth is 'unbelievably' fast. Moreover, the biggest obstacle is that most of the problems are hidden and unheard.

I did my thesis on Indonesia women as domestic workers and I found that there are so many cases that did not even make it to the surface due to the fact that these women are considered as the lowest class in the world. They did not have anyone to turn to, so sometimes, some decided to change their destinies through the most desperate ways, like suicide or homicide.

This has to stop. I do not how I can contribute to help stopping the cruelty that these women face everyday. I start with writing their stories, to help telling their unheard voices.

She …

Laying in the silence of the darkness

she, who was “loved” with a palm of hand of those having the Dollars

is trying to portray a dejavu of tomorrow’s bliss

yet falling into a deep blackness and emptiness in an imperfect world

Failing to find a way to escape from the abstract depiction of her today’s tears

Attempting to erase the temptation to end her story in the world

Laying in the silence of the darkness

she, who was dedicated her all to volatile being so called laoban

Screaming the inner worm that gnaws at her frozen heart – in silence

Regretting the forcedly revolutionized dream of beautiful tomorrow into the abyss of shame

Breaking a vow of tolerating the last abuse

Building a will to survive

Laying in the silence of the darkness

she, who asked for nothing but respect

Thinking of the bloody body with her knife in his heart

Realizing that the sorrow has ended

Smiling on her outside, faltering on her inside

Struggling to find a path for the new future

Laying in the silence of the darkness

she, who is the new princess of jian yu Kaohsuing

Planting the new shoot of hopes and dreams but this time, her eyes are wide open

Blocking any manipulation once done by her “brothers”

Writing a new story of "I’ll begin again …"

Laying in the silence of the darkness

she, who by others is thought of as a despicable killer

Praying to her Allah

Craving that her sisters would be released from the ‘unexpected’ agony when pursuing a better future

but not swearing to those who sucked her hopes for a ‘sinful’ thing called money

because for her, they are still the brothers to love

Laying in the silence of the darkness

she, who was once admitted as the Indonesia’s remittance hero

Not knowing that she touched my heart in every possible way

She is the dreamseeker, the survivor, the sister of mine
-LM-

Dedicated to all Indonesian women as domestic workers

Comments

olutosin's picture

POWERUL DEDICATION

Thanks sister for this post......I addressed some section of the National Association of Domestic Workers Union in Bangalore, India in May this year........They have moving stories, of landlords who must not touch them, must not drink with the same cup or eat in the same plate with these workers because they are untouchables but they can be raped! They cannot be seen with you, they can only be at the backyard...every cloth washed by the Dalit woman must be sprinkled with water to cleanse them from unrighteousness but these same dalits women are not safe when you cannot control your passion....they can be owed salaries for months without any reasons other than the landlords.

The worst part of the story is that the law is in support of the oppressors......No dedication is too much for the domestic worker....who has no law or record nothing from teh governemetn to protect these ones, no minimum of maximum wages, they are own......

When will this world be a beautiful place for the poor...?

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

olutosin's picture

POWERUL DEDICATION

Thanks sister for this post......I addressed some section of the National Association of Domestic Workers Union in Bangalore, India in May this year........They have moving stories, of landlords who must not touch them, must not drink with the same cup or eat in the same plate with these workers because they are untouchables but they can be raped! They cannot be seen with you, they can only be at the backyard...every cloth washed by the Dalit woman must be sprinkled with water to cleanse them from unrighteousness but these same dalits women are not safe when you cannot control your passion....they can be owed salaries for months without any reasons other than the landlords.

The worst part of the story is that the law is in support of the oppressors......No dedication is too much for the domestic worker....who has no law or record nothing from teh governemetn to protect these ones, no minimum of maximum wages, they are own......

When will this world be a beautiful place for the poor...?

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

JaniceW's picture

Beautiful

Laura,
Just by sharing these powerful words, you have spoken out for Tarsih and the many others like her. They need to be heard; they need someone to speak out for them; they need the world to listen. You have opened up a window for their voices to ring out and I hope that you will continue to share their stories so that together, we can create a better world for all women. Please let us know what we can do to help.
Janice

Umme Mahbuba's picture

We Need to be Aware

Hi Laura,

Thank you for bringing up this issue. This problem is also exist in my country Bangladesh and whenever you open the newspaper you will see at least one news on domestic violence. Most of the time these women keep silent due to the social stigma and most of the time the law go against to them as they are poor . However, to escape this situation most of the time this domestic workers choose to work in the garments factory, but the situation is more worst their. Still there is no perfect solution of this violence. Now this is the high time to find perfect solutions for them.

You really took a great step to write about them and their story which can help to make people aware and give force to apply the law against this violence appropriately.

Best regards,
Umme

Nusrat Ara's picture

Thanks for writing about

Thanks for writing about those ill fated women. What I suggest is that you wrote more stories about them and try to place them into as many media as possible. You can try for local, national, imternational newspapers , websites. Try to raise the issue in as amny places as u can. You can get a lot of help from WP in getting to know what u can do for them.

Keep writing.

Nusrat

SunFish's picture

Indonesia Domestic Worker Piece

Hello Laura,

Thanks for giving a presence, strength and a voice to women such as these. We tend to watch our 60 second newsflash and then it's on to other topics and these women deserve so much more. It's sad to think that in 2010 such horrors still exist.

The poem is precious. Thanks for sharing. What is being done / can be done about this? I welcome any feedback from the community.

Thanks,

Joan
AKA Sun Fish

Look for the message in the mess!

Rita Lara's picture

Powerful Story

Laura,

Your words are powerfully haunting. Thanks for giving voice to this issue. We speak for ourselves but when others are silenced by circumstances we must take a stand for them and with them and that is what you've done in the telling of this story.

Thanks,
Rita

Carri Pence's picture

Thanks for your powerful

Thanks for your powerful message. I reposted your entry in the group Ending Gender Based Violence.
With love and support,
Carri Pence

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