A wedding organiser named Aisha Wedding has caused controversy after promoting its services of unregistered marriage and child marriage services, stemming from the belief that a person will have a better life if they are married at a young age.
The marriage services offered by Aisha Weddings suddenly became the subject of discussion, with their offering being against the government’s efforts to suppress child marriage. Their packages are considered to violate the law on child marriage.
“Aisha Weddings believes in the importance of unregistered marriage for couples who want to come together to start a family with the blessings of Allah SWT. Above all, we strictly follow and adhere to the teachings of the Koran as the holy word of Allah SWT,” reads the opening page of the website aishaweddings.com.
“This beautiful thing can only be felt by those of you who are married young,” states the website. The caption is accompanied by a photo of a bride and groom aimed at the community to marry young.
However, this website is currently inaccessible and there is a notice that the site is under repair.
The Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection (PPPA) has asked all people to refuse this service, and continue to carry out advocacy and outreach to prevent child marriage.
“This message has caused unrest in the community and greatly affects the mindset of young people to be motivated to marry independently and at a young age,” said the ministry statement.
The Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry assessed that Aisha Weddings had violated law number 23 of 2002 which was revised to law number 35 of 2014 concerning child protection. In that regulation, it is stated that a child is someone who is not yet 18 years old.
Additionally, the wedding organiser is believed to have violated law number 1 of 1974 which was revised to law number 16 of 2019 concerning marriage, because there was an element of advocating child marriage. In the marriage law, the stated age limit is 19 years for men and women.
Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Minister Bintang Puspayoga said that by promoting child marriage, the company has ignored the government’s appeal because currently, the ministry is intensively promoting the Joint Movement to Prevent Child Marriage at the village level, which began in 2019.
Bintang added that the promotion of marrying at a young age by Aisha Weddings had angered the ministry and all non-governmental organisations (NGOs) actively engaged in child protection issues. The general public is also said to be angered because the promotion has influenced the mindset of young people that getting married is easy.
Meanwhile, reducing the number of child marriages is one of the five priority issues directed by President Joko Widodo to the PPPA Ministry as child marriage is a form of violation of children’s rights and creates devastating impacts on children, families, and the country.
“We will study this case and coordinate with related parties, several ministries, agencies, and NGOs. I also coordinate with the Communication and Information Ministry and the Chief of Police so that further investigations can be carried out,” said Bintang.
Bintang also expressed her concern that the personal data of children and adolescents who are interested in these services could be misused and targeted for other illegal acts, such as economic sexual exploitation of children into child trafficking.
“That is why we will involve the legal apparatus so that children do not become victims,” ??she added.
The Indonesian Child Protection Commission found many regional and national research studies related to the impact of child marriage. According to the Chairperson of Indonesian Child Protection Commission, Susanto, both academic and scientific research proves that child marriage can have psychological, health, and social impacts.
“Child marriage can be mentally damaging because children who are in the age of development are forced to marry and can carry heredity and reproductive health problems. Children who are not married at a mature enough age should be considered immature and unable to manage a household,” said Susanto.
Furthermore, the Criminal Investigation Agency has received a report from the KPAI. Public Relations of the National Police, Brigadier General Rusdi Hartono, said that the National Police would immediately investigate the report.
Photo credit national.kompas