“Family Victim” presents a portrait of Estu Wardhani, a young man from a highly respected and successful rural Javanese family. At first, Estu suffers from neuropsychiatric symptoms and drops out of college, but adulthood brings growing anger and violence and other anti-social behaviors, an addiction to gambling, an inability to hold down a job, and an unraveling marriage.
“Family Victim” examines a universal predicament: how families and communities interpret and attempt to control troubled and troublesome members and how problematic individuals, in turn, influence their own treatment by their communities. While family and psychiatrists believe Estu is suffering from anti-social personality disorder and traditional healers see him as possessed by evil spirits, Estu blames his family for spoiling and disrespecting him. Only after Estu’s will is broken by a traditional healer, the death of his father from a prolonged illness, and the birth of a second daughter, does Estu realize what it takes to be a responsible adult in a traditional society.
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