Another week, another highly disturbing report about extreme domestic violence in Indonesia, this time involving a man who allegedly set his wife on fire over suspected infidelity.
Authorities say that the suspect, a 32-year-old man named T Raja Aceh AKA Dedek, drenched his 25-year-old wife, Juliana Riska, in petrol and set her on fire on April 30 at a cafe in the Deli Serdang regency of North Sumatra.
Dedek immediately hugged Juliana to stop the fire from entirely engulfing her, police say, but she ended up with burns on over 45% of her body.
Dedek then went into hiding for three months, but he was arrested on Sunday in the nearby city of Binjai.
"His motive was jealousy. Based on our initial interrogation he said he was jealous seeing his wife [with another man]," Binjai Police spokesman Siswanto Ginting told reporters yesterday, as quoted by Tribun.
Siswanto said Dedek has been charged with aggravated assault under the Domestic Violence Protection Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The specifics about Juliana's current condition have not been disclosed, but police say she has been treated at three different hospitals and is continuing treatment to this day.
Over the past few weeks, there have been several highly disturbing cases of domestic violence in Indonesia, all of which were arguably instigated by the belief that a husband should have ownership over his wife's body.
In early July, a Jakarta man slit his wife's throat, in front of their young child, because she refused to have sex with him. A week later, a woman attacked her husband with an axe because he kept forcing her to have sex with him.
Women's rights activists have been pushing the government to pass the Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill, which would enforce harsher punishments for perpetrators of gender-based violence and provides greater protections for victims of crimes such as marital rape.
However, conservative activists and politicians have fought to block the bill by framing it as being permissive towards sex outside of marriage and supporting LGBT rights.