Warning story: death of young woman in West Java raises questions about marriage contract in Indonesia



In the Indonesian context, contractual marriages are temporary arrangements between a man and a woman that exist for a specific period of time, which typically lasts from a few days to a few months in exchange for money. It is believed that foreigners have used such marriages to circumvent the sins of premarital sex.

According to Devie Rahmawati, a social researcher at the University of Indonesia, such arrangements have been taking place in tourist destinations like Puncak in Bogor and Cianjur in West Java since the late 1980s.

They often involve intermediaries, and marriages are performed in accordance with the Islamic bridal requirements known in Indonesia as nikah siri. However, these marriages are not recognized by the state.

Research has also shown that such marriages have taken place in parts of Central Java, added Mdm Rahmawati.

“From the point of view of marital relations, according to a certain belief, this marriage is not a problem. But according to the state, a marriage should bring good to those involved and legal protection will be granted to them, especially when they have offspring, ”she noted.

She said the challenge in such marriages is to gain state recognition. “Especially if there are incidents in the marriage that are not good, such as sexual violence, sexual exploitation and the exploitation of the rights of women and children,” she explained.

The head of the national commission on violence against women, Andy Yentriyani, added that contractual marriages put women at risk.

She also affirmed that every religion regards marriage as an honorable institution, as it is fundamental in the formation of families, which are the foundations of society.

“I think no religion wants a marriage to be treated arbitrarily just to legalize a sexual relationship,” said Mdm Yentriyani.

Cianjur residents interviewed by CNA said contractual marriages occur in the community.

“Yes, there are quite a few here,” said Syahdan, a Cianjur-based snack seller, who has only one name.

“Maybe some of them think it’s better to be in such marriages than to have premarital sex, which is haram, or to hire prostitutes who might expose them to diseases. such as AIDS, then they choose to marry.

“But on the other hand, there are also downsides… There have been cases where women were demanding and just left their husbands or vice versa,” said the 21-year-old.

Ms Irma, 23, also confirmed that there are people in her village who are in contractual marriage. “I don’t approve of it because it’s wrong,” said the woman, who also bears a name.

Meanwhile, Ms Erawati argued that strictly speaking Ms Sarah was not married through a marriage contract. She said that although there was a financial arrangement, the marriage with the stranger did not have an agreed timeframe.


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