Public Rallies Against Garut District Head Over Crude Divorce of Teenage Wife
Protestors rallied against Garut’s embattled district chief on Monday in a demonstration that united Islamic students, university groups and women’s rights activists in anger against a man who divorced his teenage bride after four days because he doubted her virginity.
The protestors gathered outside the Garut Legislative Council (DPRD) office and unfurled a banner demanding that 40-year-old Aceng Fikri step down from his post. The district chief inspired a wave of public outcry after he divorced 17-year-old Fani Oktora four days after their July wedding via text message.
When a reporter from Detik.com ask Aceng why he divorced his teenage bride, the district chief explained that she didn’t bleed after they consummated their marriage.
“On the first night, I felt that she was not virgin because no blood came out,” he said. “I wanted to marry a woman who beautiful on the outside and the inside.”
Aceng then lamented to a reporter from MajalahDetik.com that he only slept with Fani once after spending Rp 250 million ($26,000) on their wedding.
“Even sleeping with an artist doesn’t cost that much,” he complained. “After I bought her, I found out that she was ‘not as advertised,’ so I returned her.”
Fani said she agreed to become Aceng’s second wife after he promised to pay for her to go to college and take her on an umroh (minor Islamic pilgrimage) to Mecca.
She has now filed a complaint with the National Police accusing Aceng of psychological abuse, according to Tempo.co. Aceng reportedly sent Fani threatening text messages after their divorce, the girl’s lawyer Nur Setia Alam said.
“We will report him for psychologically abusing Fani,” Setia said.
Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi told West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan to summon Aceng for failing to set a good example for the people.
Ahmad said he would summon the district chief this week.
“The district chief is in a public position,” Ahmad said. “He should watch his behavior.”
Aceng told reporters that he didn’t understand what the fuss was about. The wedding grabbed the public’s attention after the couple’s wedding photos were posted online.
“I consider this a family matter,” he told Detik.com, adding that he had given Fani some money after their divorce.
The Golkar Party, who nominated Aceng, declined to take any action.
“That’s a personal matter,” Tantowi Yahya, a senior member of the party told Detik.com. “The party has no regulations on it.”