Guns, ganking, and most importantly, girl power were on show at the Kartini Day Ladies Showdown. What better way to honour one of Indonesia’s most famous female activists, than a night of all-action display by female gamers?

The one-day charity event, held on April 21 and organised by online gaming payment platform UniPin and Riot Games SEA, aimed to increase awareness in sexual violence against women. It was held on the birthday of Raden Adjeng Kartini, an Indonesian activist who fought for education for girls and women’s rights in the late 1800s and early 1900s. More than 30,000 viewers tuned in to watch 20 female gaming influencers compete in League of Legends: Wild Rift and Valorant. 

Two teams of 5 faced off in each game for a total prize pool of 60 million rupiah (US$4,120).

Photo credits: UniPin

Team Ladyboss overcame Team Girlpower 2-0 in Wild Rift, while Team She Owns It! won Team She Got This in Valorant. The prize money was donated to non-governmental organisation Lentera Sintas Indonesia in the winners’ names.

Sherlin “SherlinTsu” Susanto, part of Team Ladyboss, hoped the event would bring greater exposure to sexual harassment. “I also want to (be the) voice of girls who can’t express themselves. So more people know that there are still many (people) who don’t know or don’t even dare to speak up,” she said.

Friendly matches aside, the Kartini Day Ladies Showdown also broadcasted several powerful messages. It set the stage with a poignant video that showed how females are regularly dismissed when reporting sexual harassment, and ended with a call to action for people to do better.

There were also interviews with female gaming celebrities on their experiences with violence and sexual harassment in esports. 

Influencer Nona Berlian shared tips to deal with unpleasant encounters. 

“For me, I don’t reply to them (harassers) until they are quiet, or don’t bother with them at all,” she said. “People like that only ask to be noticed. But if things get out of hand, then we have to be able to defend ourselves. Because if we don’t defend ourselves, no one will.”

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