The nightly news has shifted several times this year, but until recently the focus was on the worldwide crisis in the face of the relentless spread of coronavirus. The U.S. riots after the deaths of two African American men went viral on social media have grabbed most of the attention that had been given to COVID-19, but other stories have been mostly overlooked. One such story was Indonesia’s first honor killing — on record, anyway.
A 16-year-old Indonesian girl confided in her brothers that she had started to date, after which they brutally beat her to death while the family watched. Their weapons of choice? A log and machete.
Director Alissa Wahid of the Gusdurian Network Indonesia warned that more crimes such as these would likely occur before long because of the world’s current trend toward conservative values and nationalism. “This is what’s worrying,” she said. “It may not be in the form of killing, but nonetheless it is dangerous to well-being, especially for daughters.”
This is especially concerning coming from a country where honor killings are not commonplace.
Already, some are expressing the idea that copycats might take to this sort of self-orchestrated justice within families. Are more girls in Indonesia at risk? Time will tell. But the more important question — and one without an answer — might be whether or not the world will even hear about such murders when headlines are glued to the coronavirus pandemic. Recent headlines have focused on the United States. With an especially chaotic election there looming just around the corner, this trend might continue (and so, too, might the violence).
A 14-year-old girl was also recently murdered by her father in another honor killing after she ran away with an older man. Her father has been arrested, and thankfully the murder was covered in the local news — albeit pro-government news.