INDONESIA: Using Religion to Strengthen Gender Equality
By Fabio Scarpello
DENPASAR, Indonesia, May 12 (IPS) - ‘My husband rapes me repeatedly. I asked the ulama (religious leader) for help, but he sided with him, saying that according to Islam, a woman has to obey her husband. I have nowhere else to go. I have no tears left to shed. I no longer scream.’
It was while recording stories like this that staff at Indonesia’s National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan), a branch of the country’s Human Rights Commission, decided in 2007 that they needed to focus on religious leaders if they wanted to protect women.
That insight led to intense brainstorming, studies and analysis, which with time has morphed into three books written by female scholars and religious leaders representing Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism.
Titled ‘Breaking the Silence: Religions Listen to the Voice of Female Victims of Violence in the Name of Justice’, the books in Bahasa Indonesia were launched in the capital Jakarta, late-April. They aim to break the monopoly held by men over interpretations of holy books and to challenge the hegemonic patriarchal culture upon which domestic violence is based.
It's about time! No matter what I may say or think; religion is here to stay.
I really hope this goes world wide.
People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Take no one for granted and embrace all equally with joy!
Julie A. Manhan ...