Beranda Pustaka Berita “Reading a Book” of Children Victims of Commercial Sexual Violence and Diffable in the Human Library

“Reading a Book” of Children Victims of Commercial Sexual Violence and Diffable in the Human Library

Berita / Orang dengan disabilitas Mitra Payung : YAKKUM, Yayasan SAMIN

I used to think negatively about them. After I heard the story earlier, I became more aware that they were not completely wrong and there must be a reason behind it all. We cannot directly stigmatize them. They should not be isolated and in fact they only need friends and are still human.

Friday and Saturday April 5 and 6, 2019 there was something unusual in the middle of Tunas Bangsa Park, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIP), University of Indonesia (UI). Usually the park is a place where university students pass by. But this time there was a different scene, some people were seen sitting in groups under the cool shade of the trees chatting. Laughter was sometimes heard. But sometimes there were also those who looked seriously concerned, and even some looked insecure and shed tears.

They are “books” and “readers”, as the term used by Human Library, a movement that aims to eliminate stigma. Program Peduli collaborated with the Human Library for its first activity at FISIP UI. Program Peduli provided human books or humans as “books” to “be read”. Thus, there was an exchange of information and dialogue on an issue. Program Peduli provided Melati (not her real name) as a “book” who was a child victim of commercial sexual exploitation in Bandung and Yuni, people with disabilities from the YAKKUM Rehabilitation Center. Apart from the ones from Program Peduli, other “books” in the Human Library included people from Papua, people with HIV/AIDS (ODHA), JKT48 fans, women in niqab, and feminist.

In one story session, one person had a dialogue with two to seven people. “At first I just wanted to help the family economy. Dad’s job was unclear, only mom who worked for our family. I was invited by a friend to work as a song escort. But over time, my work got worse and worse until finally I was trapped by my own friend,” Melati started her life story. “I was trapped. Initially I was offered a job and invited to an apartment. At first I thought it was only going to the restaurant. However, I was forced to the room. I could not fight. I was paid 150 thousand for my payment.” Almost all of the readers were silent and stunned to hear Melati’s story. Some were shocked and confused to continue asking questions and breaking the silence. Some female students also looked emotional and could not hold the tears.

Student of International Relations of 2018 FISIP UI, Selina stated before hearing Melati’s story, she thought “Huh? How come?” After the session, Selina became aware that a child has the right to be happy and to learn. She also became aware that it was important not to stigmatize a person solely based on his/her appearance.

I used to think negatively about them. After I heard the story earlier, I became more aware that they were not completely wrong and there must be a reason behind it all. We cannot directly stigmatize them. They should not be isolated and in fact they only need friends and are still human.

Not only with Melati, the participants also had a dialogue with Yuni from the YAKKUM Rehabilitation Center. Through casual conversation, participants learned more about people with disabilities and the stigma attached to them. Yuni recalled that in various regions, people with disabilities were considered a shame and a burden on the family. Many of them then did not get the education they should. Yuni also shared her life story and why her leg had to be amputated. One participant who was touched listening to Yuni’s story wrote her impression on a piece of paper.

My previous prayer was so that I could achieve more than what I already have. I used to pray that things would change. Today, tonight my prayer is simple. God, please make my heart as beautiful as Yuni’s and use me to be a blessing as you used Yuni for blessing me today.

In accordance with the objectives of the Human Library, Selina and more than 100 participants or other “readers” succeeded in removing the stigma after talking directly and asking people from groups that they might never have interacted with at all before. How about you? Are you ready for #UnjudgeSomeone for a more inclusive Indonesia?