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If you or someone you know is in imminent danger, take them to a hospital or call emergency services on 119.

What is Abuse?

Abuse is a process that can severely damage one’s health, affecting many Indonesians to date. Around one third of women in Indonesia have reported experiencing abuse, with reported cases continuing to rise.

However, a large percentage of abuse in Indonesia remains both unreported and unrecognised. This article aims to help with recognising abuse and taking the first steps to seeking support.

Abuse refers to an individual mistreating oneself or others, through one of the following factors:

  • Physical harm
  • Emotional or psychological harm
  • Nonconsensual restriction of the other person’s autonomy
  • Intentional property damage

It is typically an ongoing process and can cause a range of negative symptoms.

Symptoms of Abuse

Many people will deal with abuse in different ways, however individuals may display the following signs:

  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Low self esteem
  • Dissociation
  • Flashbacks to traumatic events
  • Symptoms of anxiety and depression

Abuse can often affect an individual long after it has ended. Abused individuals are more likely to experience long-term effects such as depression and anxiety, as well as PTSD. Eating or substance use problems may also develop to cope with the impacts of abuse.

Taking note of whether you or someone you know displays these symptoms, may help to recognise abuse.

Recognising Abuse

Several signs of abuse can be looked for within a relationship. These include when an individual:

  • Isolates the person and encourages them to reduce contact with their loved ones
  • Constantly criticises or insults the person
  • Uses physical or sexual violence against the person
  • Uses guilt to manipulate the person
  • Ignores or withholds affection
  • Gaslights the person
  • Uses love bombing
  • Displays possessive or controlling behaviour

It is important to understand that when an individual is involved with their abuser, it can be difficult for them to notice signs of abuse. Several techniques, such as gaslighting or love bombing, may be used to ensure that the individual stays dependent on the abuser and distrusts themselves. If any suspicion of abuse arises, support can therefore be vital.

Seeking Support

Oftentimes, an abuser will encourage the individual to cut contact with sources of support, such as friends or family. Reaching out to these people can help to build one’s support system and allow external insight into the relationship.

Several services are also available to offer support. These include:


Experiencing abuse can elicit a wide range of emotions and experiences, many of which can be difficult to deal with. Therapy can provide support through such difficult experiences.

Crisis centres, integrated service centres and shelters

Crisis centres and shelters, as well as integrated service centres within hospitals can provide assistance and resources to ensure the safety of an individual.

Police help desks

Help desks within police offices can be used to report abusive behaviour and seek support.

Emergency hotlines

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, the following numbers can be contacted within Indonesia:

  • Police: 110 / 112 (SMS 1717)
  • Ambulance and Rescue: 118
  • Medical Emergencies: 119


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