After leaked porn video goes viral, officials force Indonesian teens to marry but say they will still get educations

Illustration.
Illustration.

In conservative Indonesia, the fear of children engaging in the ‘sin’ of pre-marital sex often leads to young couples being forced to marry, which often leads to them dropping out of school. The handling by officials of a leaked pornographic video featuring two Indonesian teenagers shows the rising tension between the conservative approach and the increasingly popular progressive view that prioritizes protecting the rights of young people to receive an education.

Recently, a video depicting two SMK (vocational high school) students getting intimate inside a classroom at their school in Bulukumba, South Sulawesi, went viral on social media. Outrage over the teenagers’ act soon followed, even leading to the spread of a hoax story that the girl in the video committed suicide out of shame.

However, the reality is that both teenagers are, thankfully, still alive and that authorities in Bulukumba have actually handled the incident in a way that will, hopefully not destroy their futures.

According to Bulukumba Vice Regent Tomy Satria Yulianto, the video was shot in April but local officials have already done their part to protect the two teenagers before the clip recently went viral nationally.

“We have taken meditative steps. The children were given new lives before the video went viral,” Tomy said, as quoted by CNN Indonesia yesterday.

“One meditative step was to wed the teenagers.”

Tomy added that the teenagers’ identities have been protected and that they have already left Bulukumba to start their new lives together elsewhere. He urged on the public to stop sharing the viral video.

“Let’s help them by not killing them; by that I mean not kill them physically, but their future,” he said.

The Commission for the Protection of Indonesian Children (KPAI) said they would ensure that the teenagers continue to receive their basic rights to an education and have largely lauded the Bulukumba officials’ handling of the matter, but they criticized the fact that the teens were made to marry.

“If they are still in school, then they were married before they were of age required by law,” KPAI Head Susanto said. SMK student, like other high schoolers, typically range in age from 15-18.

The current legal age of marriage in Indonesia is 19 years old for men and 16 years old for women. However, the country’s 1974 Law on Marriage also includes a major loophole to this requirement which allows marriages to still be considered legal if they are done “in accordance” with religious belief, known as nikah siri. As such, underage marriages that have been sanctified by religious courts or officials must still be officially recognized by the government — if not, many are satisfied with merely fulfilling religious or traditional requirements for marriage.

However, in South Sulawesi, a trend has emerged in the past couple of years in which families will seek and acquire legal dispensation from the local religious court in order to get their children legally married. One case in April last year was particularly widely reported in the media, involving a 15-year-old and a 14-year-old who received court approval to legally marry after their initial marriage request was denied by the local religious affairs office. In reaction to the shocking case, President Joko Widodo has agreed to sign a regulation raising the minimum age for marriage and effectively end child marriage, though there have been no reports that it has been signed since.


By signing up for our newsletters you agree with our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

Leave a Reply

Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on
MOST POPULAR