Among The Sisters
Some thirty years ago the borough of Copeland in West Cumbria, north-west England, considered a proposal from a community group to set up and manage a refuge for battered women, victims of abusive relationships.
One elderly councillor, who I'll call Joe because that was his name, put the kibosh on the project by stating that "there's only one battered woman around here, and that's my wife. And I'm not letting her anywhere near you's lot."
Late yesterday evening a niece (S) of 'Er Indoors arrived dishevelled and distressed. She had her youngest child, aged just one, with her and her four year old was back with her mother-in-law. Her husband had brutalised her once too often by hitting her around the head with an ashtray and punching her several times in the stomach. Expecting him to arrive at any time soon, a report was made at our local police post.
Things were calm for an hour or so, until the phone calls started and the anger in my wife's voice as she castigated the c**t woke me. I disconnected the phone, only for him to drive into town and come rattling our gate and shouting his wife's name. The second time this happened, just before midnight, I was aroused enough to go after him in the street even though I was barely dressed in a sarong. Years of experience of quelling large classes of school students has given me a loud, angry and commanding voice. I used it to such effect that he drove off as several neighbours came out in their nighties.
Once they realised that this wasn't a drunken bit of craziness on my part, they were supportive.
The police arrived shortly after I'd gone back to sleep. There were four of them, one in a casual shirt and jeans with hair long enough to make me think he was a premen
(street hooligan) and the other three with incipient paunches. One of these uniformed officers claimed to know me (gulp). They came in, sat, listened and offered sound support. They said that if husband was to appear again in our street we were to shout "maling, maling
" (Stop Thief.) I had considered doing this earlier but, given the number of lynchings which have occurred following such a cry, I figured that this might be unwise.
The police's legal standpoint was that S. had to go to their colleagues in Bekasi, the satellite town where she had most recently been living, and make her report to them. With 'Er Indoors and sister-in-law in tow this was done this morning. Unfortunately, their procedural advice was that she had first to report to the RT (community leader) for her last address. Given that he is a member of her husband's family she was extremely loathe to do that.
So now she is in hiding.
The point of this post is to ask if there are any organisations here in Jakarta which can offer shelter and legal advice in order to arrange a restraining order and to secure her custody of her four year old. My internet enquiries have come to nowt; although I understand that there is an organisation in Bali, there must surely be an organisation concerned with this issue here in Jakarta.
If you can help, please email me
. I promise to keep any information disclosed strictly confidential. Better yet, if you have a contact phone number, I'll pass this on to 'Er Indoors so she can keep this among the sisters.