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Narratives of exile twenty years on: long-term impacts of Indonesia’s 1998 violence on transnational Chinese-Indonesian women
journal contributionposted on 2020-01-01, 00:00 authored by Monika WinarnitaMonika Winarnita, C Chan, L Butt
In response to Indonesia’s1998 riots, which included mass rape of Chinese-Indonesian women, many Chinese-Indonesian families sent their daughters out of country to try and ensure their safety. Drawing on interviews with Chinese-Indonesian women currently living in Singapore and Australia, this article considers the long-term effects on transnational families of this departure. In contrast to current views of Chinese-Indonesians as an affluent diaspora, we show Chinese-Indonesian women’s experience to be that of exile, living outside Indonesia with little possibility of permanent return. We illuminatethe subtle and enduring effects of political violence on women’s marital, reproductive, and childrearing practices. Interviews reveal fragmented identities and contingent household formations which enabled family resilience for some but created long-term fissures for the majority. We argue for more critical attention to how gender mutually constitutes experiences of exile, and the long-term impacts of political violence on reproduction and family relations for Chinese-Indonesian women.