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Indonesian Family Commits ‘Honour Killing’ Against Teenager for Having Sex

The alleged mastermind? Her own father.
13 May 2020, 7:09am
honour, killing, indonesia, sex
(L) Illustration of murderer via PIXABAY. (R) Photo of Rosmini’s family via MUH YUNUS TOCB

This article originally appeared on VICE Indonesia.

Members of a family in Bantaeng, South Sulawesi, Indonesia, murdered a 16-year-old girl after finding out that she had premarital sex and was allegedly involved in an affair with her 45-year-old cousin.

Rosmini, the victim, died after her own father Darwis allegedly ordered her brothers to stab her on May 9. They then took three neighbours and the 45-year-old cousin, Usman, hostage in their home.

Neighbours told local media that they believed the entire family was possessed and involved in black magic, but police later dispelled such rumours.

One hostage managed to escape and rush to a nearby police station to report that he saw a dead body in the house. After much resistance from the family, police entered the home and found Rosmini’s body.

Twelve people lived in the house where she was killed, including her father, his wife, in-laws, children, and grandchildren. Police believe all family members were present during the murder.

“The victim was murdered because she had a secret relationship with her cousin, Usman. The family was ashamed of her actions,” local Police Chief Wawan Sumantri told local media on May 11.

While Usman is much older than Rosmini, he cannot be charged for the alleged affair because the age of consent in Indonesia is 16. It is also legal to be in a relationship with one's cousin.

Police have detained Rosmini’s two older brothers as suspects, while Darwis is being held as a witness. The brothers will be charged with child abuse and torture after undergoing a psychological evaluation.

Honour killings are often motivated by shame and attempts to safeguard a family's’ reputation. Such killings are relatively rare in Indonesia, compared to other Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh, which is why this case came as a shock to many Indonesians.