Child brides: Why underage girls are marrying in Indonesia

Aulia* was 15 when she was married. There wasn’t a lot of choice. She had been dating Arief, a sweet-faced boy from the local garage, and the neighbourhood tongues were in overdrive.

“There was all this shaming,” Arief recalls. “I hadn’t actually kissed her and everybody gossiped about her being pregnant.”

Neither were ready for marriage. Aulia had dropped out of school because her stepfather couldn’t afford to send her, but wanted to go back: “My friend was still at school.”

Arief wanted to save for a few years. He dreamed of a big wedding to show off to his motorcycle club.

But Aulia and Arief live in a small, devoutly Muslim village in rural Sukabumi in West Java and the gossip was pernicious.

“It took my mother a month to persuade me to get married,” Aulia says. “She kept saying: ‘Don’t embarrass me’.”

The couple are sitting cross-legged on a rug in their tiny, dark rented home, its walls made of flimsy woven bamboo. They are clearly intimate. While candidly admitting they regret marrying so young, they insist they don’t regret marrying each other.

But at the time Arief did the only thing he could think of to escape his fate: He ran away.

“I went to my grandmother’s house and hid under the bed. My grandfather rooted me out. After that I put up my hands and said ‘I surrender’.” A week later the couple was married.

Indonesia has the seventh highest number of child marriages in the world.

One in six girls – 340,000 a year – marry before they reach the age of 18, the threshold for marriage recommended by international human rights treaty bodies.

Under the 1974 Marriage Law, girls can legally marry at 16, although boys must be at least 19.

This contradicts Indonesia’s own 2002 law on child protection, which defines a child as someone under the age of 18.

And parents can appeal to religious courts for their children to marry when they are even younger.

Many children simply lie about their age on the marriage certificate or hold a religious ceremony at home that is not formally registered.

Shinta and Denny will wait to register their marriage until Denny reaches the proper age. They were persuaded by their parents to be married by an ustadz (religious teacher) when they were 17 and 18 respectively.

Shinta and Denny will wait to register their marriage until they are both of majority age. Photo: Irwin Fedriansyah

“It was the talk of the town that we were alone together in the house and something bad might happen,” says Denny, a motorcycle taxi driver with a wispy moustache. “Most of the time my mother was here,” Shinta chips in shyly.

Shinta wants to go back to school but most schools in Indonesia actively discourage married or pregnant girls. According to one report, 85 per cent of girls end their education once they marry.

The couple are living in Denny’s parents’ austere, half-built house. It’s empty of furniture except for a broken cupboard and a calendar hanging askew on the wall.

The local midwife offered Shinta birth control but the price – 30,000 rupiah ($3) a month – is unaffordable. A baby seems inevitable.

Indonesia’s first child marriage report, Progress on Pause – published last year by the Indonesian government and UN children’s agency UNICEF – pulls no punches.

The report says child marriage is a “fundamental violation of girls’ human rights”, limiting their education, health, future income and safety.

Disturbingly, it found child marriage prevalence in Indonesia had reached a plateau after three decades of decreasing and was now consistent at the high rate of 17 per cent.

In 2014, child marriage caused a loss of at least 1.7 per cent of GDP.

Fifty thousand girls still marry before the age of 15 each year in Indonesia.

“It is very concerning,” says Indonesian child protection commissioner Sitti Hikmawatty. She believes the reasons are complex and require more analysis.

Rasiana Maharti is an 18-year-old teenage ambassador for Cikidang, a sub-regency of Sukabumi.

She earnestly implores her peers to say no to drugs and “free sex” (sex outside marriage), which is often associated with loose Western morals.

Rasiana Maharti is a teenage ambassador for abstinence from drugs and sex. Photo: Irwin Fedriansyah

Girls in Sukabumi are haunted by the fear of free sex, both because it is immoral and because it can lead to unplanned pregnancies.

Two of the girls in Rasiana’s class got married. “One married her boyfriend in the second grade of senior high when she was 15 to prevent zina [the Islamic sin of illicit sex],” Rasiana says. “One got married at 16 because she was pregnant.”

This is consistent with research by Mies Grijns, who – together with a team of young Indonesian anthropologists – has spent four years researching child marriage in a village of 8000 people in northern Sukabumi.

“It used to be parents arranging the marriage, but now you have love affairs,” Grijns says.

Adolescents now have more opportunities to meet each other at school or online, they even refer to “Facebook marriages”.

“Young people these days have a much bigger choice in partners but parents decide when they will get married mainly because of the fear of zina or because the girl is pregnant,” Grijns says.

Grijns, an anthropologist from the Netherlands who grew up in Indonesia, has lived in this village on and off since 1981, when she began studying labour and gender relations at a large tea plantation in the mountains.

‘Young people these days have a much bigger choice in partners’: anthropologist Mies Grijns. Photo: Irwin Fedriansyah

“I would see so many girls walking around with young babies but thought they were the sisters, not the mothers. That is how blind you can be,” she says.

It was not until she began sponsoring children to attend school that she noticed girls were dropping out to get married: “I was thinking ‘this is 2000. What is happening?'”

Today Grijns is in the last stage of her PhD research exploring contemporary child marriage in West Java and how and why it still happens. “I wanted to understand what was happening, what the positives and negatives were, what girls and their husbands thought of it.”

When Grijns began her research not much had been written about child marriage in Indonesia and the prevailing NGO view was that it was akin to slavery.

Her research reveals a more nuanced reality – some pious girls consider it an honour to be married at 13 – and a diversity of reasons for child marriage.

There are two main groups of villagers who marry young. Firstly the sweethearts who tie the knot because of the fear of zina and village gossip or because the girl was pregnant; and secondly those from more orthodox Muslim communities.

Grijns says these more orthodox communities consider primary school sufficient for girls. “There is an expectation girls should be married early and have children early. Usually girls are happy with it because they have internalised their religion and feel good.”

Novita, a vivacious 20-year-old in a sequined T-shirt, pours tea into glass mugs engraved with hearts and proudly shows off the woven bamboo house her husband built.

She left school at 12 because she was teased for developing breasts at a young age. After working as a babysitter for three years she married at 15: “I was ready at the time to get married, my hobby is taking care of children.”

‘If you are not married by the age of 25 you are an old spinster’: Novita, who married at 15, with her son. Photo: Irwin Fedriansyah

A month later Novita was pregnant. Her son, who plays quietly on his mum’s phone on the padded floral quilt, was born five years ago after a seamless pregnancy.

“In this village almost everyone marries young, it’s not a problem,” Novita says. “If you are not married by the age of 25 you are an old spinster.”

A grassroots movement called Koalisi +18 has campaigned throughout Indonesia to increase the minimum age of marriage for girls to 18.

However in June 2015 the Constitutional Court rejected a petition for a judicial review of Indonesia’s marriage law. Eight male judges – interestingly, the only dissenting voice was the one female judge – argued keeping the marriage age low prevented premarital sex and babies born out of wedlock.

“There is no guarantee raising the age limit from 16 to 18 years would reduce the number of divorces, health problems or resolve social problems,” one of the judges said.

But this year female Islamic clerics issued an unprecedented fatwa, or ruling, against child marriage at a congress in West Java that drew participants from Malaysia, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The fatwa – which is not legally binding – called underage marriage harmful, pointing to heightened risks of sexual violence, domestic abuse and death in childbirth, and said that it must be prevented.

In the village of Sanetan, in Central Java, there is a saying that it is better to be a divorcee than a spinster.

At the age of 22, Sanita Rini is well and truly considered a spinster. “A neighbour once even visited my mother and said: ‘What’s wrong with your daughter, no one wants her?'”

It wasn’t through a lack of effort on the part of Rini’s parents. They tried to marry her off twice, once when she was 13 and then again when she was 15, to males five years her senior: “Both times my parents said it was to lessen the economic burden on the family.”

Rini promised to pay everything back they had spent on her education if they allowed her to stay at school. “If you marry me off you will get nothing because I will have a new family of my own,” she threatened.

‘What’s wrong with your daughter?’: Sanita Rini with her parents on graduation day. They had pressed her to marry when she was 13. Photo: Supplied

Rini studied economics at university and now works for Plan International, a humanitarian organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. She has even persuaded a number of villages in Central Java – including her own – to pass a regulation raising the minimum age of marriage to 18 for girls.

“Now my parents are proud of me,” Rini says. “When other kids my age are struggling to find a job, I have a job. I am showing my parents that not marrying me off is an investment for our future.

“It took a lot to be where I am. But many girls lack that and it is something I want to change.”

* Some names have been changed at the request of those interviewed. However they have given permission for their photos to be used.

Henry Sapiecha

50 SUPER SEXY & CRAZY WEDDING PHOTO PICS GALLERY

leg split scant clad bride at car image www.mylove-au.com

Source: warnet

When it comes to your wedding day, everyone wants this day to be special and one that they will remember forever. Well these photos are extremely awkward and honestly nobody will forget these, but they are probably not what the person wanted to have from their wedding day. Some are on purpose, but a lot of them were not what you expected at all. Make sure you check out these 27 hilarious and tragically awkward wedding photos. Honestly though, they make for some amazing memories that they will be glad they have awkward or not! You won’t be able to help but laugh when you look at these pictures.

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awkward car bonnet pose for bride image www.mylove-au.com

Awkward pose for this bride above.I wonder whose idea it was

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roller skate derby bride image www.mylove-au.com

Source: theberry

The lads are having a good eyeful of this roller skating derby bride on wheels

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matching underwear for bride & maids image www.mylove-au.com

Source: trinixy

Bride & maids with matching under briefs.R they setting a trend?

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mixed up Wedding-Pictures-Underwear image www.mylove-au.com

Source: kameleon

Who is with who here..???

What kind of strange wedding did we just walk into. The bride has her arm around a bridesmaid, the groom has his arm around a bridesmaid,  the bridesmaid has her arm around a bridesmaid.  Everybody gets a bridesmaid except for the servers in the back. Well, at least they’re being entertained.

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leg over car by bride pose image www.mylove-au.com

Source: posta

Again with the awkward posing on cars. When will people realize that this isn’t actually as cool as you think? Not that anybody was going to tell her. Certainly not the photographer. Wouldn’t be surprised if a few of the shots probably went “missing” afterwards.

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cheeky bridal couple image www.mylove-au.com

Source: vk

They’re busted and she knows it. I wonder what’s going through her head as she looks right at the photographer. The groom certainly doesn’t seem to mind. Hey, maybe they’re just exhibitionists. In any case, that has got to be the fluffiest wedding dress of all time

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bride under arrest image www.mylove-au.com

Source: droni

You know you’re at the right wedding when the cops show up to arrest the bride. What could she possibly have done to deserve this? Looks like they’ll have to reschedule that honeymoon

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bride & maid do tit tassle image www.mylove-au.com

Source: tout-bon

Lusting bridesmaid for bride or is she just hungry for love.

They’re having a blast regardless. Who needs a groom anyways?

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bride being dropped off image www.mylove-au.com

Source: deja-vus

This wedding has gone completely out the window! All puns aside, I have no idea what’s happening at this point. Why on earth is the bride being dropped out the window? Whatever the reason, this looks like a bad sign regarding their future as a married couple…

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the 2 large balls wedding photo image www.mylove-au.com

Source: faxo

I’m willing to bet that this is that one cousin nobody wants to invite to the wedding, but ends up being invited anyway. I wouldn’t call this a photobomb though… It looks like this guy has been there for a while.  At least somebody is enjoying the wedding. She’s looking at his two balls.

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game watching bride image www.mylove-au.com

Source: vk

This girl is literally every gamer’s dream wife. The wedding is happening in twenty minutes but there’s still time for some league of legends. Until she ends up missing the ceremony because she was waiting for a game… Still worth it.

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crappy wedding pic of bride & groom image www.mylove-au.com

Source: vk

Okay, whose brilliant idea was this? You just know it has to be the photographer. There is no way they stepped into those porta-potties and said “this looks like a great place for a photoshoot!”. What a crappy wedding photo.

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wedding orgie pic image www.mylove-au.com

Source: gigamir

Hey now, save it for the …group honeymoon? If anybody has any idea what’s happening here, feel free to let us know because i’m pretty sure wedding orgies went out of style centuries ago

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monkey bar bride image www.mylove-au.com

Source: ucrazy

Georgina of the jungle over here looks like she was really enjoying the photo shoot. Though it is a bit weird that it’s taking place in some sketchy park in the woods. To each their own. Watch out for that tetanus.

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the muscular bride image www.mylove-au.com

Source: trinixy

The muscular bride

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mass blow job wedding image www.mylove-au.com

Source: ididafunny

Nothing says camaraderie like a synchronized fellatio.  It looks like they’re outside a fancy venue for this photo. Kind of makes you wonder how many people were watching this go down. There are so many things wrong here.

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bride-and-bridesmaids-gagged image www.mylove-au.com

Source: deadspin

Now that’s one heck of a wedding. Although…It might be a little hard to say “I do”  with a ball gag. Then again it’s also hard to say “I don’t” which i’m guessing is closer to what these guys were going for.

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bringing a bear cub to a wedding image www.mylove-au.com

Source: barnorama

Holy cow, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that this wedding is in Russia. There’s no way it isn’t. Nobody brings a bear to a wedding. And no, your uncle Bernie doesn’t count.

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groping bridesmaid wedding pic image www.mylove-au.com

ource: imgur

Now this is an intriguing photograph, just about any way you look at it. Reason is that I don’t think anyone but them will truly know why this picture was taken, or why they are doing what they are doing. Any thoughts guys? The first and only thing that comes to my mind is….Russian.

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what are the bride& groom doing image www.mylove-au.com

Source: bandtrax

Now this is one hilarious wedding portrait. This guy is so excited for the honeymoon that he’s bursting with joy. Meanwhile she looks like she’s beginning to regret her decision. Can you blame them?

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groom listens to brides phone call under gown image www.mylove-au.com

Source: dumpaday

This traditional part of the wedding is normally harmless, but when you are in some weird, super public place, it can get awkward quickly.  Are they at Disneyland for god sake? How many passerby are you letting attend your wedding? Why is she on her cell phone? Lots of questions…

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fat thin ugly wedding couple image www.mylove-au.com

Source: likesharetweet

Well aren’t they just the perfect couple? Salute to the man serving his country, now he is back home and settling down with his new wife. They both look ridiculously happy don’t they? Lets hope he still wears the pants in the relationship.

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bride grinding off chastity belt image www.mylove-au.com

Source: Smosh

“I’m Free!!!!” This is one of the more epic picture in this gallery. It seems as though wild thang wanted to show everyone that she was a complete virgin until today (her big day). It looks like she is even on a stage with a huge projector screen behind her. The grooms buddies better call him in the morning to make sure he is still himself. Odds say he will be a changed man

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brides night dances with fat tat man image www.mylove-au.com

Source: damncoolpictures

This wedding photo may take the cake when it comes to pure WTF. We have a seemingly attractive, clean cut, and clothed bride, dancing with a super tatted, naked ginger buff guy, with a face that could be mistaken for Marilyn Manson.’s.  Did I mention he is in a man thong? Turns out he’s a semi-famous Russian body builder, named Sasha Shpak. Known for his freaky eccentric look and preference to wear minimal clothing…. as you can see.

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whale & porpoise wedding couple image www.mylove-au.com

Source: acidcow

To my knowledge, choosing the perfect wedding dress is probably the the most important part of the wedding to women. It has to fit perfectly and some brides even go on crazy diets to fit in their dress. They at the least, make sure it fits their bodies properly. This bride is not your normal bride…

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awaiting-reaction bride couple with maid on grroms lap image www.mylove-au.com

Source: weddingpros

What a perfectly timed photograph, props to whoever took this picture. Now the question is, what the hell is going on here. This guy has a beautiful new wife next to him, clearly trying to get his attention and there some one else face down in his lap, and they appear to be of the female gender. There are so many possibilities of what is really going on. What do you guys think is happening right at this very moment? Besides that the bride has some major cleavage action going on.

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super sexy cleavage bride with groom at cake image www.mylove-au.com

Source: keepbusy

Wow. This new bride didn’t leave much for the imagination. She’s wearing a rather low cut wedding dress and seems to be falling out of it almost. I’m sure the groom is not complaining, and it’s safe to say that at least half of the wedding guests don’t mind it either. Good for you newlyweds!

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bareback riding of maid by bride image www.mylove-au.com

Source: teamjimmyjoe

Well this must have been a wild night. It also must have been awesome to be the wedding photographer at this venue. The face on the girl underneath (we will call her the horse in this situation, since she is being ridden by the cowboy bride) is priceless. She is most likely one of the bridesmaids and possibly the little sister of the bride. Yee-Haw!!

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the $1 wedding dress bride image www.mylove-au.com

Source: Onewed

We’re…not really sure what’s happening in this one. Is that seriously a dollar store? Are those people behind her wedding guests or customers? So many questions… Lets just hope she didn’t buy the dress there.

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Bad-Family-wedding Photos-Grandma-grabbing-crotch image www.mylove-au.com

Source: dontgoout

What in the world is granny doing with her hand all up in there? It’s like she is either throwing up a gang sign or just trying to get her hand in the picture. Whatever she was doing, I think she succeeded. There has to be at least a 30 year age difference between Granny and Pink Shirt Guy.

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Couple-in-background wedding pose pic pair image www.mylove-au.com

Source: awkwardfamilyphotos

This is what appears to be a gorgeous wedding photo of a great couple until you see what looks like creepy parents in the background. Whatever this photographer was trying to do, they didn’t pull it off. The fact that the parents refuse to smile makes it look like this groom probably better watch out.

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bride on butt with police image www.mylove-au.com

Source: weddingpros

Well this wedding did not happen as planned according to this photo. As you can see these (either newlyweds or engaged couple that were supposed to be newlyweds) are surrounded by Police. The groom is being arrested with handcuffs, face down, and the bride looks to heading in that same direction. How would it feel to get arrested on your wedding day? It goes from the best day of your life to the worst.

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boy curiosity bride pic image www.mylove-au.com

Source: teamjimmyjoe

This little boy’s curiosity has started pretty darn young.  It looks like he would have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for this perfectly timed photo by some talented photographer. The bride has no idea what so ever. Think he got a good look?

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groomsmen matching underwear image www.mylove-au.com

Source: StyleSizzle

This wedding party knows how to have a good time. This hilarious photo has caught them with their pants down and these girls seem to have a nice view from their spot in the shot. Now everyone is going to want groom underwear for their wedding! Hmm, do the girls have on matching underwear?

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bridal boquet toss image www.mylove-au.com

Source: Awkwardfamilyphotos

Now this is one bouquet toss we wouldn’t mind watching over and over again. In fact, all the wedding attendees were probably like, “just wait a little longer, they are busy”. The girls lined up to catch it seem a bit preoccupied with themselves. Also why are there only three girls lined up the catch it? I guess it improves their odds. Check out the old guy taking a photos or a video of the action. He knows what he’s doing.

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fat black wedding couple being funny image www.mylove-au.com

Source: murderbymedia

This looks like it could have been a low budget wedding, which everyone can appreciate! Why spend a ton of money on one day when you can spend it on your future life, and on a sick honeymoon. But something tells me their honeymoon might have been in a motel 6 in the next state over. However what really matters is their happiness, and they do look happy…or liquored up.

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wedding dance mishap image www.mylove-au.com

Source: amusingtime

The real moment all the wedding guests had been waiting for. Some hammered member of the wedding party face plants on the tile floor!!! Once again, check out the photo timing of this hard slam to the floor, it’s almost like he anticipated it. Rob Dyrdek would call this a half-scorpion.

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deflowered bride by groom image www.mylove-au.com

Source: SeriouslyForreal

Why wait for the honeymoon when you can just take her on the ground while getting your wedding pictures done? This guy just couldn’t wait and it looks like his pants are coming unfastened next! Hopefully they waited for the cameraman to leave before taking it all off and getting at it.

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old & new wedding couple down the isle image www.mylove-au.com

Source: tintuc

Old buck & sweet young thing wedding couple walking down the isle

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Hope you have enjoyed the journey

fuif7

Henry Sapiecha