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Indonesian preacher criticized for 'justifying' domestic violence

Oki Setiana Dewi apologized and hoped Allah would forgive every mistake she makes
Indonesian preacher criticized for 'justifying' domestic violence

Indonesian preacher Oki Setiana Dewi delivers a sermon. (Photo: YouTube)

Published: February 04, 2022 09:17 AM GMT
Updated: February 04, 2022 09:22 AM GMT

Catholics and rights activists in Indonesia have expressed disappointment at a sermon by a well-known Muslim woman preacher that they claim justified domestic violence.

Oki Setiana Dewi was narrating a quarrel between a couple from Jeddah during a sermon uploaded on her TikTok account on Feb. 2. In the video, she is seen explaining how in a fit of rage the husband slapped the wife but she chose not to tell her visiting mother about it.

“There is no need to tell a story that makes us vilify our own partner,” she concluded.

Justina Rostiawati, chairperson of the Jakarta-based Catholic Women of the Republic of Indonesia (WKRI), disapproved of the manner in which Dewi spoke, displaying no empathy for victims of domestic violence.

“She mentioned the story as an example of how a wife has to cover her husband’s disgrace … a housewife who always has to show her piety, goodness and beauty,” Rostiawati told UCA News on Feb. 4.

Rostiawati, a former member of the National Commission on Violence against Women, said the sermon can drive victims of domestic violence into a corner.

The sermon encourages victims of domestic violence, particularly women, to keep silent and to bury their wounds for their whole life

“This is very dangerous because a home, which should be a safe place, can turn into hell without others knowing,” she explained.

“The sermon encourages victims of domestic violence, particularly women, to keep silent and to bury their wounds for their whole life. They can even die in their home.” 

She suggested that the preacher find appropriate examples for her sermons.

Lukman Hakim, a researcher at the Civil Muslim Network, said in a statement that the preacher’s sermon had the potential to justify domestic violence.

“Remember, all religions do not accept verbal and physical violence,” he said. “Domestic violence is a crime instead of a mere disgrace. It cannot be tolerated and ignored. It is very dangerous and threatens family harmony and the life of victims.”

Responding to the criticism, Dewi posted an apology on her TikTok account on Feb. 4 stating that she was against domestic violence.

“Thank you for your love and attention. Of course, I am truly against domestic violence. I am really sorry for delivering the sermon in a wrong way. I hope Allah will forgive me [this] and every mistake that I make,” she said.

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