The marriage of 16-year-old Selamet Riadi and 71-year-old Rohaya in a village in Ogan Komering Ulu, South Sumatra, was the talk of Indonesia last week, obviously due to their extraordinary age gap.
Despite receiving ridicule from many, Selamet and Rohaya continue to publicly express their great affection for each other (after all, they did threaten to commit suicide if their families did not give their blessings for their marriage). But it seems like Selamet’s idea of love is more than a little obsessive and misogynistic.
In an interview with Detik today, Selamat admitted that he’s easily driven to jealousy when it comes to his new bride, so much so that he locks her up inside their house whenever he goes out.
“My jealousy is over the top for Bunda (an affectionate term to describe a mother or female partner in Indonesian), this is because I love her,” Selamat said, as quoted by Detik.
“Yes, I lock her up because I’m scared that other men will enter the house when I’m off to buy noodles or cigarettes. But when I get home, I unlock the door.”
Rohaya was not interviewed regarding this locking arrangement of theirs.
In related news, the newlyweds are spending their honeymoon in the South Sumatran capital city of Palembang. Selamat has also expressed his desire to have a child with Rohaya.
The official minimum age of marriage in Indonesia is 16 for girls and 19 for boys, as stated in Law no. 1/1974 on Marriage. However, there is also what is known as nikah siri, which is a type of marriage that follows religious norms but is not recognized by the state. This creates a loophole that allows child marriage to still be widely practiced in Indonesia because, in Islam, there is no set minimum age for marriage (in its place are subjective gauges on whether a boy or a girl has reached “maturity”, such as having gone through puberty).
Nikah siri continues to happen throughout Indonesia because, in the very same law that sets the minimum age for marriage, there is a contradictory clause that says, “A marriage is recognized if done according to the laws of their religion and beliefs.” This protects nikah siri from being seen as a violation of the law, whereas without which it could be construed as statutory rape if the marriage involves underage individuals.
Although marriages between older men and much younger women are hardly unusual in Indonesia, the opposite is extremely rare. In February, the wedding of a 28-year-old man and an 82-year-old woman also made headlines in Indonesia and around the world.