Issue a Regional Regulation to Marriage by Abduction in Sumba

Issue a Regional Regulation to Marriage by Abduction in Sumba

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VERSI BAHASA INDONESIA #StopKawinTangkap

Can you imagine if a group of men suddenly come to your house, then take you or your sister and put you or your sister in the house of one of these men for days, and force you to marry him, even though you, yourself, don't really know the man? Not only a few women in Sumba have experienced it.

In January 2017, a woman from Central Sumba (28 years old) was taken unwillingly and forced to marry a man she did not love. At that time, she screamed, thrashed, cried, and out of her desperation, she slapped and bit the man's hand.

Yet, she was still taken and detained for 6 days at the house of the man’s family. After a long negotiation initiated by the woman’s family and relatives, she was freed on the 7th day. This event certainly left a deep trauma for the woman.

In December 2019, a woman in Anakalang, Central Sumba, also experienced the same treatment. She was kidnapped by seven men, put in a pick-up truck by force. She struggled but no one helped. She was detained by one of the man; the woman's family finally managed to take the victim back and she did not get married.

The latest one happened again June 2019, as the news of another bride kidnapping practice or marriage by capture was heard in Anakalang, Central Sumba. A woman aged 21 was abducted from the house of her neighbour. The victim also screamed and struggled, but again, she was ignored. Although it was said that the victim’s family continued to have a talk with the perpetrator, the practice of forced marriage, such as this, places a woman in a helpless situation where she is unable to make her own decision.

Unfortunately, this practice is still considered reasonable in Sumba on the pretext of being part of a tradition called “Kawin Tangkap” (Marriage by Abduction). When you look at the facts, these Marriage by Abduction practices in Sumba cause suffering, fear, insecurity, and deep trauma for women.

The practice of Marriage by Abduction is an act of violence against a woman because her body is controlled and becomes a sexual object for men. This clearly violates Women's Rights as stated in CEDAW (The Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women) which was ratified in the Indonesian Law No.7 of 1984.

The Chairperson of the East Nusa Tenggara Regional Parliament, Mrs. Emilia Nomleni, has already requested that the practice of ‘Marriage by Abduction' in Sumba Island must be stopped, but this practice is still ongoing. According to her, it is possible that this type of practice in Sumba does not only occur to adult women, but also to children, because they never knew how old women were when they were 'abducted'.

The victims are helpless because there is no legal framework to protect them. Perpetrators also cannot be legally prosecuted and can be freed just like that. Therefore, there is a need for a regulation that prohibits the practice of Marriage by Abduction, so that the victims can get protection and the perpetrators can be punished which in turn will cause a deterrence.

Therefore, we need your support, friends, to encourage the Governor of Nusa Tenggara, Mr. Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat, S.H., M.Kn. to issue a Prohibition on Marriage by Abduction in 4 districts in Sumba Island so that if anyone still does this practice, they can be processed legally.

Such alarming practices in Indonesia must be stopped immediately.

Regards,

PERUATI National Management Committee
(PERUATI - Alliance of Women with Theological Education in Indonesia)