The Aisha Wedding Case and the Hypocrisy that Causes a Real Foolishness for the Indonesian Citizens

(The Aisha Wedding Campaign, sources: Aisha Wedding’s Facebook)

What is Aisha Wedding and how about what is their campaign?

The appearance of Aisha Wedding, a wedding organizer that presents many controversial things on their business page, has stirred up the Indonesian netizens.

As previously explained, the wedding organizer presented many controversial matters. However, under the guise of religious matters, Aisha Wedding seeks to promote child marriage. “All Muslim women want to be devout and obedient to Allah SWT and her husband. To be pleasing to Allah and your husband, you must be married at the age of 12–21 years and not more,” wrote Aisha Weddings on their website, aishaweddings.com.

How about the Indonesian regulations for child marriage and how do Indonesian citizens respond to this case?

The issue of child marriage is illegal in Indonesia. Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 16 of 2019 concerning Amendments to Law Number 1 of 1974 concerning Marriage in Article 7 paragraph 1 states that “Marriage is only permitted if the man and woman have reached the age of 19 years.”

Meanwhile, the terminology about a child in Indonesia is someone who is under 18 years of age and still has to get protection and also the rights of his or her parents.

The reaction of Indonesian netizens is of course not a positive response. The majority criticized openly and invited people around them to report Aisha Wedding to the KPAI (Indonesian Child Protection Commission) for follow-up. However, many speculations have sprung up. An opinion emerged that the existence of Aisha Wedding itself was only the work of an individual projected to divert the scandal that was owned by the Indonesian government. This means that there are some people who think that the existence of Aisha Wedding is not a real thing.

Nevertheless, whatever the facts behind the truth of Aisha Wedding’s existence, their promotion of child marriage is something that should be tackled and stopped. Because this will bring a lot of harmful things.

Why is the Aisha Wedding’s campaign harmful?

By correlating with the religious issues in the execution of child marriage in it, Aisha Wedding seems to defend the paradigm of some people who think that marrying off their children to avoid “sin” is something that can be defended. And in fact, not all Indonesians are aware that child marriage is something wrong and should be avoided because it only makes their children into a vicious cycle of poverty.

How about the child marriage cases prevalence in Indonesia?

Indonesia is one of the ten countries in the world with the highest number of child marriages. And on the ASEAN scale, Indonesia is in the second-highest rank after Cambodia. The Council of Foreign Relations projects that one in five girls in Indonesia marry before they reach 18 years old. In one decade, at least 142 million girls will marry before adulthood (CFR, 2015).

The highest number of child marriage cases in Indonesia is found in the region of West Java and West Kalimantan. The West Java region is famous for contract marriages, where many parents allow and even force their daughters to marry adult men for money. In a survey conducted by Arivia and Gina, nearly half of girls in West Java were sexually enslaved in a written contract marriage agreement (Arivia & Gina, 2015 in Jurnal Perempuan 84).

What are the side effects of continuing to leave over child marriage occur in Indonesia?

First, the Indonesian government has violated the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Child marriage takes away the basic rights of children that should be obtained for their growth and development. This right is the right to education, the right to play, to get protection, to get food and access to health, and to have a role in development.

Second, the Indonesian government will increase the prevalence of maternal mortality and infant mortality rates, which reflect the level of social welfare in a country. With the occurrence of child marriage, there will be many child pregnancies. This pregnancy is very risky because the mother of the baby does not have adequate physical, mental, and financial resources. From this child-mother, malnutrition babies will be born which will cause the loss of quality generations of Indonesia in the future. Moreover, Indonesia is predicted to experience a demographic bonus in 2045, where the population of productive age will become dominant.

Third, having a child marriage to overcome poverty is not the answer. Plunging their children into marriage only degrades the girl’s value because they become vulnerable to household violence from their husbands. According to Plan’s findings, as many as 44% of girls who perform early marriages experience high-frequency household violence. The remaining 56% of the girls experienced household violence with a low frequency. In addition, with no educational background possessed by the child, they are powerless to fight against the violence that afflicts them.

Even if there are girls who have enough audacity to divorce from their husbands, they do not have sufficient financial strength to support themselves or their children. In the end, these girls would only end up as domestic helpers, prostitutes, or human trafficking.

In conclusion, child marriage will only make children into a vicious cycle of poverty. The most effective way to break the chain of poverty is through education, not a child marriage.

Fourth, Indonesia’s failure to carry out the necessary social construction even though its economic growth has increased. This is evidenced by Indonesia’s economy which is in the 16th position in the world but is in the 121st position out of 187 countries based on the Indonesian Human Development Index (UNDP, 2013).

How about the ideal condition that supposed to happen in Indonesia and what is the solution to the child marriage cases problem?

Although Article 7 paragraph 1 of Law Number 16 the Year 2019 states that, “Marriage is only permitted if the man and woman have reached the age of 19.”, Article 7 paragraph 2 of the Law states, “In the event of any deviation from the age requirement as referred to in paragraph (1), the parents of the man and/or the parents of the woman can ask for dispensation to the Court on the grounds that they are very urgent accompanied by sufficient supporting evidence. “

Paragraph 2 of Article 7 creates multiple interpretations with the “very urgent reasons” words. What is the urgent reason? What about the pressure or coercion that the child gets from his parents that force them to do the child marriage? Law Number 16 of 2019 concerning Marriage has not enough to explain the criminal penalties for parents who force their children to undertake child marriage. The Indonesian government should be added statements again regarding these multi-interpretations.

The development of religious fundamentalism in Indonesian society, assuming that child marriage is an attempt to prevent children from “fitnah” and “zina” even though they have not graduated from school is such a real foolishness. The problem of carrying out child marriage based on religious principles is not permitted by law in Indonesia.

The Indonesian’s taboo culture on reproductive health and sexual health is hypocrisy for the Indonesian people. Education on reproductive and sexual health should be included in the education curriculum in Indonesia or programmed openly by the Indonesian government to save the Indonesian nation from the foolishness that threatens the quality of Indonesia’s future generations.

REFERENCE

Candraningrum, D., 2016. Pernikahan Anak: Status Anak Perempuan?. Jurnal Perempuan, 21(1), pp.4–7.

Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Republik Indonesia, 2019. UNDANG-UNDANG REPUBLIK INDONESIA NOMOR 16 TAHUN 2019 TENTANG PERUBAHAN ATAS UNDANG-UNDANG NOMOR 1 TAHUN 1974 TENTANG PERKAWINAN. Jakarta: Kementerian Hukum dan Hak Asasi Manusia, pp.2–3.

Djamilah and Kartikawati, R., 2014. Dampak Perkawinan Anak di Indonesia. JURNAL STUDI PEMUDA, 3(1), pp.2–14.

Musfiroh, M., 2016. Pernikahan Dini dan Upaya Perlindungan Anak di Indonesia. De Jure : Jurnal Hukum dan Syari’ah, 8(2), pp.64–73.

Currently studying environmental health, but also put many interests to self-development, mental illness, also women & children issues. My opinions are mine.