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Indonesia records sharp rise in divorce rate

Last three years have seen more than 1,100 marriages end each day

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Indonesia records sharp rise in divorce rate

Euis Sunarti, chairwoman of the Indonesian Family Activist Association, says her group has recorded at least 1,170 divorces in Indonesia every day for the past three years. (Photo courtesy of Institute Pertanian Bogor/ibp.ac.id) 

More than 1,100 divorces have been recorded each day across Indonesia in the last three years, triggered by domestic violence and financial problems, a family care association reported. 

The situation is being exacerbated by the prolonged crisis caused by Covid-19, it said. 

According to the Indonesian Family Activist Association (GiGa Indonesia), a group that offers families counseling, the number of divorces increased significantly between 2017 and 2020. 

“The number of divorce increases every year. Before, there were about 800 each day, but from 2017 to 2020 it increased to 1,170 every day, or 50 every hour,” GiGa Indonesia chairwoman Euis Sunarti told reporters on Dec 15.

It means that before 2017 an average of 288,000 divorces were recorded every year but the figure jumped to around 421,200 annually over the past three years, the association said.

About 80 percent of cases were filed by wives who suffered domestic violence at the hands of their husbands, said Sunarti. 

“The situation this year has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said, adding that more families are facing a degraded quality of life. “So, family resilience becomes an important force in facing the challenges,” she said.

Amany Lubis from the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) said the trend was worrying, adding that most divorces involved couples married for less than five years who were experiencing financial difficulties.

Muharam Marzuki, a senior official at the Religious Affairs Ministry, called on families to strengthen ties and maintain harmony, especially through the hardship being caused by the pandemic.

“It has affected so many families, worsening their economic situation, which threatens marriages,” he said.

Yuli Nugrahani, from the Indonesian bishops' women and gender secretariat, said the impact of divorce on children also needs to be addressed. 

“Couples should face their problems together and not blame each other. They must overcome together and look for solutions together,” she told UCA News.

She said divorce not only impacts the wife and husband but also the children and the entire value of family life.

“Families and relatives must support couples and care for them when they have problems,” said Nugrahani, who also heads Tanjungkarang Diocese’s Justice and Peace Commission in Sumatra.

She also called on religious and social leaders to educate and help couples in their struggle to build a family.

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