Nirmala’s Statement

Nirmala’s Statement
Virliya Putricantika, – Bandung

Nirmala’s trauma as a victim of dating violence is like a dark alley that sometimes comes haunting. Every time she remembers the time, her body trembles and she is forced to stop moving. She often feels lost.
Nirmala faced the cycle of abuse for over a year. The promise to change was just an empty promise. In reality, she got a lot of threats that made her fall even deeper in the dark alley on her own.

“I realized that I was facing abuse, but I could not get out,” said Nirmala while sitting on a terrace floor in a corner within her campus.
Dating violence, including sexual abuse, is a serious issue in Indonesia. The National Women’s Commission notes that from 4,500 reports they received in 2021, 1,200 of them were dating violence cases.

Many abuse cases take place within the university circle, a place that is supposed to be a safe space for students. Referring to the statistics from Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, between January-July 2021 there were at least 2,500 sexual abuse cases in campuses. The number is higher than the previous year, with 2,400 reported cases. The issuance of rule Number 30 Year 2021 from the ministry on Sexual Abuse Prevention and Handling in Universities further asserts that there is an urgent need for a safe space for victims.

Sharing her story with a trusted friend was a turning point for Nirmala, seeing her condition as a victim of dating violence. With her effort, she manages to escape an unhealthy relationship. What she has gone through gives her a motivation to voice out on gender and sexual abuse issues. She then joined an organization that provides guidance for survivors. “Women can make a move when they believe in themselves,” she said.
Nirmala is now a women’s rights activist that actively helps to create safe spaces within campus with her friends. After getting out of her dark alley, her statement can be heard loud and clear.