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Josefa inside her kiosk (Photo: Anne-Cécile Esteve for AJAR)

Josefa Adao da Silva

Josefa Adao Da Silva has said enough.

Josefa fled with her family to the forest following the Indonesian invasion in 1975, when she was only 12 years old. There, she lost her entire family except for one brother. She later became active in the clandestine movement, for which she was repeatedly arrested, detained, tortured, and raped.

Then they electrocuted me until I fell down near my uncle. They burned my body with cigarettes until I fainted. They waited until I was conscious, then lifted me up and sat me in a chair. They poured hot tea on me, kicked my legs which became swollen and bled, they continued to stomp on my feet. They interrogated me for two hours, then I was taken back to my cell. My uncle never returned to the cell. I never saw him again.

In order to avoid retaliation against her family, she was forced to marry a member of the civilian defense unit (Hansip), but she continued to support the resistance by using certain privileges she had in her position as a civil servant.

She finally had the courage to leave her husband and marry a man who accepted her past. Although she gets support from her child who is now grown, Josefa worries about her future and wishes the government would provide her some assistance, in recognition of her sacrifices for her country.

We don’t have stable jobs, we garden to try and meet our families needs. My child is already married and has his own family. He helps to support us. I really want the government to look after me and my family– not because I can’t look after my family anymore but because I think I deserve it. I need something in return for what I have suffered. I want a good life for me and my family and, for now, I can’t achieve it on my own without government assistance.

Justice should be ongoing, because only with justice can we get truth about what we suffered. There especially important is justice for all the women for whom independence cost them their dignity..

About ACbit

The saying “Chega Ba Ita” underlines our belief that the CAVR report was written based on the experiences and voices of the people, for the people. It is not a document that should be shelved and forgotten. It is a living document to be understood, debated, and re-invented for generations to come.

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