A 19-year-old woman, who is being referred to by only her initials DAT, was found tied up sitting in a wooded area of Nyitdah Village in Tabanan. Upon being found by the police and local villagers, she claimed to have been kidnapped, and beaten. With further investigation, it came to light that DAT has spun police and the community a web of lies.
In actual fact, the whole scene was manufactured by her in an elaborate plan to deter her husband from finding out she had been socializing with another man. According to local reports, the plan had conspired with the help of her father-in-law.
In a series of events that could make for a Sinetron plotline, DAT went to her father-in-law asking for protection from her husband should he find out. It seems that her father-in-law gave her the rope to help engineer her kidnapping.
Local police and pecalang (community security) have shared that they had their suspicions from the start, although they did call in for questioning a man known to the press as GA. When asked who assaulted her, DAT pointed the finger at her husband’s work colleague GA, a 23-year-old man from the area.
When questioned by the police GA could provide a strong and substantiated alibi and be released without any further action. Police suggested that there were discrepancies in DAT’s story from the start.
What is known is that DAT had been on a date with a man that she had met on Facebook. She intended on meeting him again but feared how her husband would react. She had stayed out until 3 am with this man, something that is frowned upon in Indonesian culture.
For any woman, married or not, to be out until the early hours, especially with someone to whom she’s not related, would be cause for a little more than raised eyebrows.
The Head of Tabanan Police Department, AKBP Ranefli Dian Candra, confirmed that the investigation is underway. DAT was found on Monday 2nd May. In a video posted on an Indonesia viral post account on Instagram, she can be seen to be crying and struggling to move. The caption of the post, written in Bahasa Indonesia, recalls DAT’s version of events and was met with comments of sympathy.
The police have confirmed that DAT is not living with any known mental illnesses. They have stated that she comes from a ‘broken home’ and has been raised by her step-grandfather.
Over the course of the pandemic rates of domestic violence against women in Indonesia increased significantly. This mirrored a global trend that saw women and girls especially become victims of abuse in their own homes. Women’s rights in Indonesia have improved in recent years but there is still a long way to go.
According to Indonesian law, adultery is not criminalized. However, each region, province, and municipality has its own bylaws around the matter meaning in some areas adultery is illegal. There are both government and religious laws in place that hold equal weight in these situations.
There have been dozens of cases of police raids on people saying in hotel rooms accusing them of adultery or sex outside of marriage. For many police forces, being in possession of a condom and being in the private company of someone you’re not married to is sufficient evidence of adultery and deviation.
The rules are unclear and seemingly ever-changing. Police raids seem unregulated and hard to appeal. Often families endeavor to resolve such issues themselves but this can put vulnerable individuals in even greater danger.
Any activities, retreats or events that could be linked to sexual activity of any kind, or anything that goes against the ‘norm’ in Indonesian culture are clamped down on hard by police in Bali. In 2021 an Australian offering Tantra workshops in Ubud was bought into police custody for investigation on the grounds of sexual abuse.
As for DAT, it appears that the case is ongoing. There may be legal repercussions for faking one’s own kidnapping and intentionally falsely accusing someone of assault. Defamation laws, specifically on slander, state that if proven, can be published with a maximum imprisonment of 9 months.
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