Dewi Candraningrum, a feminist painter, believes that gender based violence is closely connected to ecological injustice which also leads to social injustice.
As an example, Dewi mentioned a rape case that involves a 14 year old girl named Yuyun in Bengkulu back in 2016. In the location of the incident, there are many traces of excavation and pits of environmental damage.
This case was told to the 25 journalists that came from Central Java, Yogyakarta and East Java who visited her studio at Jejer Wadon Art Space, Boyolali, Friday night (10/1). This visit is a part of the Workshop & Story Grant: Covering the Issue of Freedom of Religion and Expression event. This workshop is held by The Journalists Association for Diversity (SEJUK) in collaboration with the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Surakarta and Internews that was held from 10 to 12 January 2020 in Solo.
“The rape of Yuyun in Bengkulu occurred in an area with a lot of environmental damage pits,” said Dewi, who is also a master graduate from Monash University, Australia, and doctorate from Universitaet Muenster, Germany.
She also believes that women’s bodies and sexuality are most vulnerable to political slander, especially if it involves a huge scandal that happened in the country which is connected to social injustice. In this case, women are often considered as merely objects. The media are also most happy to connect two and two together.
Stop Exploiting Victims of Sexual Violence
The stories told by this former editor-in-chief of Jurnal Perempuan is supported by the painful stories of the women she has painted. Behind the ones displayed or scattered in her studio like a painting of Lanfu, a victim of 1965, or Kendeng, and many more. This method is chosen to encourage journalists –either online media, printed or radios– to be more sensitive towards subordination and violence against women in their news coverage and writings. Also to be more aware of the various efforts many women have tried to fight for their rights and to fight injustice.
A Radio News Agency (KBR) Journalist and Semarang contributor, Anindya Putri, felt like she has gained a rich female perspective from this event. This has helped her sharpen her sensitivity and empathy in her writing.
“From the material delivered by Dewi, I have a better understanding of the bodies of women that are still prone to social slander even until now,” said Anin.
What Dewi has said, she continued, is very important for helping us understand more on how to act and behave when covering a story on victims of sexual violence without exploiting victims.
Through the portrait of Sukinah (Kendeng), Salim Kancil, Wiji Thukul, Christina Sumarmiyati (Gerwani) and even Jesus that is painted by Dewi Candraningrum, the participants formed a group that discusses the women’s perspective and the subtle spirit of justice that these paintings represent.
Story Grant Diversity Coverage
The workshop that was held from Friday to Sunday has also provided the participants with the principles of freedom of religious beliefs and expression. This material was delivered by the Deputy Director of the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), Daniel Awigara. Other materials delivered was digital security by the chairman of AJI Yogyakarta, Tommy Apriando. Also discussed in the event was a guide to covering news on diversity, delivered by Ahmad Junaidi, an editor at The Jakarta Post and Kompas TV produser, Budhi Kurniawan.
In addition, two Buddhist representatives temple administrators in Solo), a priest from the Javanese Christian Church (GKJ) Manahan Solo, along with the LGBTI community known as Talitakum Solo, talked about the discrimination that they faced in the event. These victims and minority groups in Solo places high hopes to the journalists and the media to be more fair in covering news on issues of intolerance.
In the presence of 12 female journalists and 13 male journalists, the representative of the LGBT community from Solo (known as Rainbow), suggested that journalists and the media to first understand the perspective of sexual diversity. With this, the news coverage will not be trapped in stigmas and stereotypes. Rainbow also has high hopes that the media and journalists would choose sources that are more diverse and welcomed to diversity.
“Firstly, our community wants to know what you, our friends from the media, would want for their news. This could prevent the strengthening of stigma towards LGBTIQ,” said Rainbow, who took the initiative to offer another meeting with the LGBTI community.
During the registration for the event, journalists involved in this workshop sent proposals for the coverage of diversity. After all the ideas mentioned above has been discussed together with both the speakers and the participants, on the third day each proposal was presented in front of Dewi Candraningrum, Budhi Kurniawan and Ahmad Junaidi. This then lead to a discussion from each proposal.
From this process, all three of them had to choose five proposals to be proceeded as news coverage on diversity. These chosen proposals will be given a scholarship of Rp. 7,000,000.
The following list is the five proposals that has received the SEJUK Story Grant:
- The Chronicles of Tawangalun Banyuwangi, Ira Rachmawati, Kompas.com
- Chinese New Year to Nurturing Solo’s Diversity, Mariyana Ricky PD, Solopos
- Islamic Boarding School (Pesantren) in Demak Promotes Diversity, Sigit Aulia Firdaus, Tagar.id
- A Shelter for Children with HIV/AIDS, Anindya Putri, KBR
- Tourism Program that Respects Local Wisdom in Banyumas, Abdul Aziz Rasjid, Merdeka.com
The participants’ perspective have changed
The participants were generally very satisfied with the workshop and coaching of covering the issue of religious freedom and freedom of expression. The enthusiasm could be seen from the participation of each participant in every session and discussion. In the evaluation survey, they felt that the activities were fun. In the same survey on Surveymonkey, 68% of the 25 participants felt like their perspective has progressed enough during the activity. While 28% felt like their perspective has progressed drastically.
Not only that but 79,17% of the participants feels like their expertise in journalism on covering religious freedom and freedom of expression has also progressed enough; while 12,50% of them felt like it has drastically progressed.
Because of this, they felt that the material delivered–together with its methods–are well planned. The participants understanding of the material presented becomes a challenge for the next workshop.
From the 22 participants that filled the survey in the beginning of the workshop, 63.64% of them felt like gender is natural. While 36.36% of them believes that gender is a construct. The gender perspective of participants are considered to be more conservative.
On the evaluation survey, 40% of the 25 participants view gender as natural while 60% believes it was constructed. Although, there were a lot of participants that improved their understanding of gender, not all believed that gender is a social construct.
Bambang Murjanto, a journalist of The Jakarta Post highly encouraged his colleagues to continue covering news where religious conflicts and human rights violation occurred.
“That is the responsibility of media: to provide a space for victims to voice their rights,” he said.
Therefore, he continued, there is no need to interview or quote the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI). He considers MUI as part of the problem, not a solution to the conflict.