Creating a Community Free from Sexual Violence


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Monday (Dec 2), Festival Film Dokumenter (FFD) 2019 held a discussion entitled “Assembling in a Safe Space: Rethinking Forms and Prevention of Violence within Communities” at Kedai Kebun Forum. The discussion is a series of DocTalk program that is designed to build FFD as a safe, comfortable, and inclusive space for everyone (the committee, volunteers, and the audience) involved in it . Moderated by Amerta Kusuma (Board of Forum Film Dokumenter), the discussion featured Vauriz Bestika (initiator of Sinematik Gak Harus Toxic campaign) and Ayu Diah Rahmawati (lecturer of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences UGM).

Vauriz Bestika, familiarly called as Aiz, started the discussion by introducing the campaign of Sinematik Gak Harus Toxic. She explained that it is a response to sexual violence cases that happened in film community. The campaign, which adheres to 15 forms of sexual violence by the National Commission on Violence against Women, collects reports through Google Form. The submitted reports are used to map the pattern or mode of sexual violence in the community and be acted upon if the complainant wishes to. “We had collected four forms of common sexual violence from the submitted reports. Those are rape, sexual harassment, sexual control, and sexual exploitation” said Aiz.

Besides, Sinematik Gak Harus Toxic has also attempted two preventions of sexual violence. Firstly, in November 2019, they created a workshop with eight film communities from various regions in Indonesia by inviting Andy Yentriyani, the chief of the Community Participation Committee (2010-2014) of the National Commission of Violence against Women as the facilitator. Second, they encouraged film communities to organize a presentation regarding the code of conduct for both internal and external circles of the communities during film activities or festivals.

However, Ayu explained that sexual violence is often reduced as a problem between man and woman or women’s action to take revenge against men. In fact, speaking of violence, everybody, despite identity and gender expression, can be the perpetrators, victims, and survivors. This is where power relation works, “Any forms of violence, such as gender violence or economic exploitation may be carried out by the people who have higher power over people whose power are low. The forms of the power are various, it can be the position, age, race, religion, and ethnic” said Ayu.

Furthermore, Ayu notified that sexual violence should not only be perceived through the perpetrator’s action to the victim. The violence also occurs because we tend to leave the perpetrators free. Moreover, people accept self-victimization and also assume that sexual violence is a common thing.

Both speakers ended the discussion by suggesting to do a follow up on the cases of sexual violence in each respective community. Aiz advised the film communities to make a safe space, such as supervisory and counseling division for the survivors to confidently tell their stories, select the community officials and members who have thoughts and commitments to discuss, prevent, and handle the cases of sexual violence, and create a management and prevention procedures, for example, assistance services in the immediate area of the community.

Ayu added that the safe space will be better if it is formed as a physical space or safe house for the survivors because in several cases, they need a place to hide from the perpetrators. She also affirmed the importance of training and equipping our self to provide psychological first aid to the victims or survivors, so that we will no longer depend fully on women crisis centers that are usually overburdened with sexual violence cases, such as Rifka Annisa Women Crisis Centre in Yogyakarta, which receives more than 500 reports in a year.

Written by Nizmi Nasution

Translated by Fidel Demara