Badriah A Thaleb
- In Features
- Post 06 December 2015
- By Maryati/Setiorini
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INDONESIAN WOMEN, 6 DECEMBER 2015
For many people, the tsunami that hit Aceh on December 26, 2004 was a disaster that caused a very deep wound. However, for Badriah, a housewife in Aceh who often received violent treatment from her husband, the tsunami was a blessing. Badriah derived from Muara Batu, North Aceh. She is a widow of three children who had often experienced domestic violence from her husband. After the tsunami, Badriah got a lot of knowledge because she had the opportunity to join a women's empowerment group which was set to help tsunami victims especially the women in Aceh . Her mind began to open. In her village, Badriah now is known as a motivator for encouraging a lot of women, victims of domestic violence and other acts of violence.
A few months after the disaster that devastated Aceh, Women Volunteers for Humanity came to her village in Meunasah Lhok, North Aceh. Acehnese women's NGO then formed Beudoh Beusare (To Build or To awake Together) whose members are 14 widows. Although Badriah was not a widow, she was allowed to become a member "because I am a female main breadwinner in the family. After joining the NGO, she followed various meetings and discussions. Since then her life changed dramatically. She seemed to get enlightenment that women actually have equal rights in the family. Initially she did not dare to protest her husband who often resorted to violence. In her understanding, a wife should obey her husband . If not she would go to hell.
Badriah Thaleb indeed married young, before the age of 17. It turned out her dream to build a family of her own was disastrous for her even though her husband was of her own choice. When Badriah became pregnant, he never came home. He had just returned a few months after she gave birth. The same happened again when she was pregnant with her second and third child. In addition to taking care of her three children, she was told to work in the rice fields and the results had to be submitted to her husband. Her husband also forbade her from joining activities with others, including when there were weddings in the village or other events. Yet, because it was considered ungodly for a wife to disobey her husband, she just did as she was told. In the village where she lives, there are still some other women who suffer a similar fate. They just let go and consider domestic violence as something normal that has become destiny of life. It was with the assistance of LBH Apik, a Probono lawyers organization specializing in helping women victims of domestic violence, she finally sued her husband for divorce.
After joining many discussions on women empowerment for 3 years, Badriah, a female junior high school graduate volunteered to be one of companions in cases of domestic violence, sexual abuse of children and rape that occurred in North Aceh. Since 2012, at least more than 50 cases that they took care of. Almost all of the cases were settled in court or by custom law. She always accompanied the victims, right from reporting to the police until the cases were brought to court. Badriah admitted she only gets Rp100,000 ($...) transport money when accompanying a case. Meanwhile, the cost of living with her three sons was obtained from her rice fields and a small kiosk in front of her house. However, she was willing to help so that other women do not experience such violence like she did.
According to Badriah A Thaleb, as a women activist, when she was working to defend other women, she often faced threats. Her simple house often became a safe place for women in her neighborhood who received domestic violence. Initially, Badriah was shunned by many people in her village because she was considered to be teaching other women to dare to resist.
Badriah also actively encourages other women victims to demand for justice. The women in the village then formed a group that aims to provide encouragement to other women. Today, already there are already 50 people who have become members of the group chaired by Badriah. Thanks to her perseverance, Badriah now has a brick production business that continues to grow. She is now even recruited many village women to work at the brick factory. Not only doing business, Badriah is also involved in a number of women's organizations in Aceh. She motivates the members of the group to keep their spirit in life.
Badriah Thaleb won Acehnese Women Award 2015, initiated by the government and women's activists on 25 November 2015. This award aims to give recognition to women who have dedicated themselves to the enforcement of women's rights in Aceh. Badriah was one of 29 women nominated by various organizations for the award. A jury consisting of scholars, academics, women activists and journalists organizations then chose Badriah as the award winner.