Post by Focus on Feb 18, 2013 18:07:28 GMT
A government official who sparked outrage by marrying a child bride could be sacked after divorcing her by text message four days into their marriage.
In another case that highlights attitudes towards women's rights in the Southeast Asian country, a judge joked during a supreme court job interview that women might enjoying being raped.
Outcry : Indonesian official Aceng Fikri divorced his child bride by text message four days after their wedding
But both officials are now at risk of losing their jobs, which has been seen as a small step forward by campaigners.
The supreme court has recommended the president dismiss Fikri for violating the marriage law, and police are investigating the case because it involves a minor.
The country's judicial commission has also called for Judge Muhammad Daming Sunusiat to be sacked for his comments about rape.
Unregistered polygamous marriages, such as Fikri's, are common in the archipelago. Although divorce by text message is rare, it is allowed under Islamic sharia law.
His ex-wife Fani Oktarahas, who was the legal age of 16 when she married him, denied his claims that she was not a virgin.
A photo of the wedding last summer was posted on the internet and caused a public outcry in the local media and on Twitter, blogs and Facebook.
Divorce : Fani Oktarahas was just 16 when she married Fikri and has denied his claims that she was not a virgin
Thousands of people took to the streets in December to protest, with student and women's rights activists demanding he resign.
Protesters trampled and spat on photos of his face before setting them ablaze outside the council building in Garut.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono responded by issuing a rare public condemnation of the 40-year-old official and his illegal marriage.
There has also been anger last month over the comments made by Judge Muhammad Daming Sunusiat at a parliamentary selection panel for a supreme court position.
He said it could be a mistake to impose the death penalty for rape because both the attacker and the victim 'might have enjoyed' it.
The remark reportedly drew laughter from panel members. Sunusi later apologised and said he had been joking.
Not only was Sunusi rejected for the job, but the country's Judicial Commission recommended that he be dismissed from his position on the South Sumatra high court.
Anger : Judge Muhammad Daming joked during a supreme court job interview that woman 'might enjoy' being raped
But the supreme court would have to agree, and it has said such punishment would be too severe because he made the remark in an interview, not during a trial.
Husein Muhammad,of the commission on violence against women, said: 'Enough is enough!
'Our officials should no longer mess around and issue ridiculous statements even as a dumb joke.'
Women in the social-media-obsessed country have been rallying, online and on the streets, against sexists comments and attacks on women for some time.
The movement in a country of 240 million people, most of whom practice a moderate form of Islam, appears to be having some impact on the largely secular government.
Husein Muhammad added: 'We are living in a different era now. Now we have supporting laws and social media to bring severe consequences and social sanctions.'
But rights groups argue the country remains far behind on many issues involving gender equality and violence. Rape cases often are not properly investigated, and victims are sometimes blamed.
In 2011, after a woman was gang raped on a minibus, then-Jakarta governor Fauzi Bowo drew protests after warning women not to wear miniskirts on public transportation because it could arouse male passengers. Bowo lost his re-election bid last year.
A sex-trafficking case involving a 14-year-old girl prompted education minister Mohammad Nuh to say last year that not all girls who report such crimes are victims.
He said: 'They do it for fun, and then the girl alleges that it's rape.'
His response to the criticism he received was that it's difficult to prove whether sexual assault allegations are 'real rapes.'
Changing views : The fact both officials are at risk of losing their jobs shows a change in attitudes in Indonesia
Growing concern in Indonesia over women's rights reflects that in India, where a brutal and deadly New Delhi gang rape in December has drawn nationwide protests and demands for change. That case also resonated in Indonesia.
'Let's imagine the suffering of women who are treated badly by their husbands and the rape victims. What if it happened to our own families?' said Ellin Rozana, a women's rights activist in Bandung, capital of West Java province.
'We need government officials who will be on the front line to protect women, and judges who can see that violence against women is a serious crime.'
In the West Java official's case, it was the text-message divorce that prompted outrage more than his unregistered second marriage, though such weddings raise issues about women's rights.
They are regularly performed for Indonesians ranging from poor rice farmers to celebrities, politicians and Muslim clerics.
Polygamy remains common in many Muslim countries, based on Islamic teachings that allow men to take up to four wives.
In Indonesia, men are allowed to marry a second wife only after the first gives her blessing. Since most women refuse to agree to share their husbands, unregistered ceremonies, or 'nikah siri,' are often secretly carried out by an Islamic cleric outside the law.
Women's rights : Protesters in Garut, West Java, demanded in December that Fikri is sacked over the divorce
Some of the marriages are simply a cover for prostitution. A cleric is paid to conduct 'contract marriages' as short as one night in some parts of Indonesia, usually for Middle Eastern tourists.
Practices differ slightly elsewhere, with men in places such as Malaysia sometimes marrying outside the country to avoid informing existing spouses and seeking permission from an Islamic court.
Without a marriage certificate, wives lack legal rights. Children from the marriage are often considered illegitimate and are typically not issued birth certificates, creating a lifetime of obstacles ranging from attending schools to getting a passport.
However, in another sign of Indonesia's changing attitudes, the supreme court this month ordered all judges to obey an earlier constitutional court ruling granting rights such as inheritance to children born out of wedlock, and to punish fathers who neglect them.
The women's commission on violence is now pushing for a revision of Indonesia's 1974 marriage law to grant more protections to women and children.
'I hope Indonesian women can take a lesson from Fikri's case,' said Ninik Rahayu of the commission.
'At least it has awakened their awareness to not marry in an illegal way' -- 'Divorced by text' - his '14 yr old bride' ... WHAT THE FCK IS WRONG WITH THESE SUBHUMAN SAVAGES?? - Fx