Sisters, Stay Safe!
Last year’s Bali Spirit festival director asked to write a blog which I feel a little uncomfortable writing for the first day of the festival. The festival being a time of celebration and joy and all. However, I succumbed and wrote what was required, as yoga after all is about seeing the whole picture, the light and the accompanying dark. And Ubud may have its little corner of tropical paradise, but it also has its more shady side, and it’s those shadows that need to be exposed, lifting up the vibration and activating this community to rise up. This is a blog for all the women who are here, who feel safe and comfortable, who are perhaps just a little (and rightly so) blinded to the reality.
Three nights ago I was dancing my heart out as Nako and medicine for the People performed at Jazz Café in the centre of Ubud. The music was strong and the night was long and I finally made it onto my bike at that time of night when coaches are meant to turn into pumpkins and horses into mice. I’ve lived in Ubud for four years, I cruise around on my trusty vario and never think twice about driving the few minutes home late at night. Three nights ago was no different. However, as I drove onto Jalan Raya Ubud I attempted to block out the unwelcome words of a young local guy as he pulled along side me: “Hello chica” was how it began followed by more words suggesting this was not just a friendly wish goodnight. I turned onto my road, which winds up the hill to Laplapan, feeling my heart sink as I saw the headlights follow behind me . My unwelcome escort home.
I know the road well, and knowing its steep curves I knew I couldn’t speed up anymore. My intuition kicked in and sure enough I was cut off at the next turn. “Hello Chica” was now being replaced with words around “fuck” and my bike was being pushed off the road as hands were grabbing my breasts. I felt myself being pulled off my bike, and yet my trusty vairo was being shoved to the other side. My foot came down as huge rage rose within me and hauling my bike back up I turned it directly into this stranger who dared to touch me. I knew I had no weapons to defend myself, so instead I chose attack with all I had on me – I turned my bike towards his, accelerated as fast as I could while jamming down the horn. Kali energy filled my belly, eyes blazing I screamed loud that he had chosen the wrong women to mess with (not that there is a right woman). To say he looked surprised would be a huge understatement. I chased him back down the road, before screaming my way up the road home. Locals that night must have thought the spirits had returned after Nyepi as the voice coming out of my throat were primordial – pure survival.
I’m telling you this as perhaps your not so experienced at riding a bike, or aren’t sitting with as much fire and fight as I am right now, and I am telling you this in case he gives it another try. It’s not a blog of fear, but one of activation, which is what all of this festival is all about. We need to be united in our belief that as young independent women we are free, and free not to be abused or assaulted. We will not live in fear, or hide. We will speak up, rise up and even if that means riding home with friends after the late nights to come this week rather than riding solo. And we will still dance our souls out and sing with all of our hearts before arriving home safely and powerful.
Peace Sisters. Stay safe.
Photo by Ulrike Reinhold
Written by : Administrator