In Indonesia, a fifteen-year-old boy and a twelve-year-old have been forced to marry after breaking a local custom that forbids dating after sunset. The young couple had only been dating four days. It seems that 15-year-old Suhaimi and his 12-year-old girlfriend, Nur Herawati, were pressured into the marriage by the girl’s parents, after allegedly breaking customary dating laws, by bringing the young girl home after 7:30 pm earlier this month. The girls parents gave them no choice but to marry.
The couple’s wedding solemnization ceremony was witnessed by dozens of relatives and neighbors and footage of it was shared on Indonesian social media all last week sparking a heated debate about child marriage. The wedding did not receive approval from the Religious Affairs Office which legally sanctions marriages in Indonesia, but the couple’s families consider them married. Suhaimi’s parents reportedly tried to prevent the marriage, but without success.
Indonesia amended its marriage laws and raise the minimum age for girls from 16 to 19, but parents can still ask for “dispensation” on the grounds of religious beliefs. Some Indonesians don’t even bother to make the marriage legal, opting for religious ceremonies instead.