I have a Ph.D., a passport full of immigration stamps in far-flung places, and a warm and loving home run by women who raised me to be sharp, strong, and loud. I am also a survivor of emotional and sexual abuse by a man I believed to be the love of my life. While he fought hard to steal my voice, in leaving him, I have grown louder, stronger, and more keenly aware that suppression can happen to any woman and every woman deserves to be heard. So I rise for an end to the violence-—to save my sisters and myself.
This V-Day, I wrote a brief poem in honour of this very movement and to all survivors in my adopted home of Indonesia. I love you and I rise with you.
Title: In Word or Deed
Let none continue to lead with that misleading tune
that sings of men’s instinct, birthright, unfortunate but inevitable shortcoming
to strike, to strip, to suppress.
That tune that traps like a stone wall a village, a city, a people,
enforcing disbelief that a home, a street, a world
may be free of cruelty.
Follow the drum to stray from the tune.
The drum that encircles our daughters, sisters, mothers
with a powerful, impenetrable sound.
That drum that beats our the depth of truth
to conjure the light.
In word or deed, violence is inhumane.
And we are all capable of being–or becoming–human.
Drum! Dance! Rise!