DIAN PURNOMO'S 'PEREMPUAN YANG MENANGIS PADA BULAN HITAM' AND GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
The sorrowful life of Magi Diela.
In early November last year, Dian Purnomo launched a novel titled "Perempuan Yang Menangis Pada Bulan Hitam" (The Woman Who Wept to the Black Moon) at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. The book tells about the custom of bride kidnapping in Sumba. Many of the scenes are written based on stories of survivors of the practice.
This story revolves around a woman named Magi Diela who lives and breathes in the modern world and all its hypocrisy, where marriages by abduction are no longer relevant. However, many people still want to defend the tradition in the name of preserving heritage and who knows what.
Published by Gramedia Pustaka Utama, this book features photos of the Sumba area. The dialogues are also thick with the local dialect and language, providing the right atmosphere for the readers. The author, Dian Purnomom, was also featured in one of the LitFest sessions at Sarinah Jakarta Content Week in November 2021.
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"Sampai kapan sa dan perempuan lain di sa pung tanah ini akan terus menangis?"
After being kidnapped and tamed like an animal by Leba Ali, Magi Diela Talo finds herself without the support of her family to stop the adat proceedings.
Her dream to build Sumba with a diploma as a Bachelor of Agriculture, which she earned with difficulty after a long education on the island of Java, has vanished into the darkness.
There are not many choices for women who are victims of marriage by abduction after she's placed in her kidnapper's house. It is almost certain that her family will simply give her up because they think the family's name, and especially the daughter's reputation, has been tarnished.
Thus, for Magi, her parents, the whole village, and its leaders are scourges who helped take away their independence as a woman.
Now Magi is left to choose her own hell: leaving her parents and homeland, surrendering himself to the pervert kidnapper, or attempting to cheat her own death.
The tradition of marriage by abduction still occurs today, and there are very few records that say victims of it have managed to avoid the forced marriage that follows.
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Not just a book, but a call
"Magi Diela is alone and has almost no chance to fight back. But staying silent is the same as turning her body into a life of imprisonment called forced marriage," the author wrote on his Instagram account, @dianpurnomo.
The theme is close to her current profession as Child Protection Advocacy Specialist at Save the Children Indonesia. Born as Dian Yuliasri in Salatiga, this former radio worker in the Prambors and FeMale radio groups has written nine novels and anthologies of short stories so far.
Dian has been exposed to many social issues along the course of her illustrious careers, from women and children imprisonment at Puska PA and Universitas Indonesia's Faculty of Criminology, gender-based violence at Rutgers WPF Indonesia, to sexual, reproductive, and environmental health at OnTrack Media Indonesia.
After a six-year hiatus from writing, Dian received the 2019 Indonesian Writer Residency grant for six weeks living in Sumba and gave birth to the "Perempuan Yang Menangis Pada Bulan Hitam", marking her metamorphosis as an activist who channels her causes in the form of a novel.
In this 320-page novel full of trigger warnings, Dian Purnomo voices the anguish of women who have survived marriage by abduction, stirs the feelings of the readers, and opens our eyes that gender inequality and violence against women do still exist and are real.
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