A 15-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl got married in Sulawesi on Monday after being granted permission by a religious court to do so, despite international criticism.
The underage couple initially dated for five months. When their families got wind of the relationship, they immediately urged the two to get married. The young bride said their marriage was “destiny”. Her mother had also been married at the age of 14.
Their request to get married was initially denied by the office of religious affairs (KUA) as they were too young. However, the couple’s parents took their case to a religious court, which then overruled KUA and granted the couple permission to get married.
The case sparked nationwide outrage, and garnered a lot of attention on social media.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has now said he plans to introduce new regulations to raise the minimum age of marriage in the country in an effort to stop child marriages. The current minimum age is 16 for girls and 19 for boys.
Early marriages take place all over Indonesia, with religious courts often issuing exceptions to the minimum age of marriage. According to the United Nation’s children’s office UNICEF, 14 percent of girls in Indonesia are married before they turn 18 and 1 percent before the age of 15.
Child marriage has devastating consequences, with most marriages often leading to poverty, domestic violence, and health risks linked to early pregnancies.
Citizens all over Indonesia have condemned child marriage and has urged the government to take action.
Source: BBC Indonesia
Photo courtesy of Rappler.com
Illustrated by Adinda Maya