On Friday afternoon, a 21-year-old university student in Indonesia’s Lampung province, was filmed jumping from the roof of a four-story mall to his death. According to local police, the student is believed to have taken his own life due to romantic heartbreak, but his death has become a tale of lost humanity in the name of social media gratification.
In numerous videos of the incident taken by passersby that afternoon, it appears no one tried to talk the student — who was standing on the edge of the roof with his back toward the drop — out of jumping. Instead, several people can be heard egging him on, shouting, “Jump! Jump!” while laughing from below. The laughs turned into screams of horror moments later when he did.
Speaking to Kompas, a witness, named Heni, said the majority of people who had gathered outside the mall to witness the suicide were more preoccupied with filming with their smartphones than showing sympathy for, let alone attempting to help, the victim.
“I even saw up there [on the rooftop] a man who was wearing black. I thought he was negotiating with the victim so he wouldn’t commit suicide, but he was actually among those who took pictures,” Heni said.
True enough, photos and videos of the victim taken by somebody on the roof moments before he jumped have circulated online.
Even in death, many have shown no sympathy for the victim. In numerous viral threads about the suicide, many netizens have posted incredibly callous and cynical messages accusing the 21 year old of craving the attention, saying his suicide “worked” in boosting his online popularity given the recent influx of followers on his social media accounts, as if any of that mattered now.
Knowingly neglecting a person in danger when one is able to help is a crime punishable by up to three months in prison in Indonesia, but there have so far been no reports of local police enforcing that law in this case.
Suicide is often a taboo topic in Indonesia while depression is often brushed off as a sign of weakness in the sufferer. Indonesia currently does not have a dedicated government-run suicide prevention hotline, so if you or anyone you know is suffering from depression and/or contemplating suicide, you can get help from several local NGOs dealing with mental health and suicide prevention, such as saveyourselves.id.