The Life of a Sexual Assault Survivor in Indonesia

Following the daily strains of his friend Banu, Jakarta-based photographer Yusni Aziz aims to understand the psychological repercussions of sexual assault and place the larger issue of violence against women in Indonesia in the spotlight.


Sexual violence is traumatic. It turns a woman’s life upside down. I became even more aware of that three years ago, when I took the train to Bandung, Indonesia, to accompany Banu to meet her first ever psychologist, months after she was sexually assaulted by a male friend.

On that day, she was diagnosed with PTSD and her life started to change forever. The girl who was once famous for being a brave and reliable human rights activist, gradually lost faith on herself and her surrounding. She then decided to step down from the podium, and wanted to keep her life under the radar. She could not express most of her potentials: she has been having difficulty to get a job, unable to finish her study.

What had happened to Banu also affected a lot of women in Indonesia. The National Commission on Violence Against Women published a statement in 2018 which shows that each year thousands of Indonesian women were subjected to sexual assault. However, what many people do not see beyond those numbers is the lifetime impact of sexual violence on the victims.

Through this project, I wanted to document the transformation that took place in Banu’s life as my attempt to understand the struggle of a survivor.

Words and Pictures by .







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Yusni Aziz is a photographer and writer with background in architecture based in Jakarta, Indonesia. His works mainly focus issue related to the self, people, urban and environment. Find him on PHmuseum and Instagram.

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This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

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