Widows Get Toxic Treatment After Divorce

After a divorce, many widowed women experienced toxic treatment. Stereotypes as a naughty widow usually called “pelakor”, a coquettish widow, make the widow's position into a corner. Even though we know that being a widow is not an easy choice for women.

This is not a new story anymore, if widows are often considered a scourge in society, this condition has happened everywhere from ancient times to the present. Where there is a woman who wants to be a widow? Whether to be left behind by your husband or separated, being a widow is still not a good choice.

One widowed woman said that her condition became complicated when people started to overwatched her behavior after becoming a widow. Even though when she was married, she didn’t feel watched over, but when she became a widow, she was often watched and made gossip, like what she was doing or what she was wearing.

This form of supervision and gossip adds to the stigma of widows in society which is always negative, such as widows who are considered less empowering, like to seduce married men, naughty women, and many others.

Whereas in the Great Dictionary of the Indonesian Languange (KBBI), the term widow means a woman who is no longer married or left by her husband or partner, this is a neutral designation. However, in everyday life, widows are considered not a common human, because everyone seems to require that everyone must be in pairs, so then put on stereotyped terms such as naughty widow, usually called “pelakor”, a coquettish widow who makes the widow’s position very cornered. Even though we know that being a widow is not an easy choice for women.

However, this is inversely proportional to the status of widowed men which has a positive value. This is because of the dominance of men who are always more powerful in all roles that are considered important in a society that always win over men. So that widowed women are in a tight position, becoming objects and not subjects.

Not to mention if you are a widow who already has children, then she will get a very heavy double burden. This double burden or so-called double burden is a workload that is not the same as men. The double burden often creates vulnerability and injustice for women, especially for poor widows.

This double burden is not only physical when she works in public and domestic areas, but also when she is deemed unable to do household chores properly. If this stigma continues to grow, then life as a widow will end. Its existence is no longer recognized, it is still stigmatized as a person who is incompetent to take care of the house, unable to take care of children. Her burden as a widow will be even greater. Whereas a widow must first get out of her marital turmoil, reorganize her life. If this stigma is always pinned on widows and if many find it difficult to accept their existence as widows, then their life is over.

Tika Adriana in Konde.co once wrote, Lyn Parker and Helen Creese, in a paper entitled “The Stigmatization of Widows and Divorcees (Janda) in Indonesian Society” said that the stigma attached to widows made their life difficult because of being ostracized by the social environment.

“What we know, Indonesian women today, those who are not happy because of their marriage, are afraid to get out of marriage because of the stigma of divorce, but they keep it a secret because it’s considered a shame. This is further compounded by the poor representation of widows in contemporary soap operas, pop songs, and films,” wrote Parker and Helen.

The difficulties experienced by widows are a form of structural discrimination against women, a condition that does not occur in men. Men are often blame-free as a result of the breakdown of the household. Parker and Helen explain in their paper, women in Indonesia have often been required to bond with men. This problem is one of the causes of the stigma attached to widows.

In addition, our current social environment still requires women as obedient, compassionate, and good role models. Those who are considered deviant will be bombarded by stigma from our social environment. As a result of this stigma, some women are in a toxic relationship and have to choose to survive, even though this may not be the situation they want.

Finally, because of that stereotype, widows who choose to leave and stay away from their former environment must experience a situation that is not easy. They go to organize their lives to be better economically and mentally while looking for a comfortable environment.

It seems like this is a situation that should be taken, instead of maintaining the former toxic environment.

Ravika Alvin Puspitasari

Kesibukan sehari-hari kuliah daring dan mengikuti berbagai diskusi online. Selain itu aktif menulis di Lembaga Institute For Javanese Islam Research. Tertarik dengan isu-isu gender yang sedang berkembang saat ini

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