The proper age of marriage according to National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) is 21 years old for women and 25 years old for men. Marriage for children under the age of 18 shall be prevented because it has higher social and psychological impact. Women who married under the age of 18 has higher potential of miscarriages, prone to diseases, low quality of baby, malnutrition and school drop-out. In Yogyakarta, cases of early marriage is most prevalent in Gunung Kidul regency at 11.29%, followed by the city of Yogyakarta 7.79%, Bantul regency 7.30%, Kulonprogro regency 7.28% and Sleman regency 5.07%.
Sociologist, Prof. Dr. Partini, S.U., said the cause of early marriage is low level of education between both partners, economic necessity, cultural value system, arranged marriage and free sex. In addition, said Partini, there are some people who consider early marriage as heredity, but it is not. “Early marriage is actually the result of a less rational mindset. Early marriage is regarded as a way out of the problems of life, but in fact it is quite the opposite. In fact, early marriage is considered a way out of promiscuous teens,” said Partini in the Training of Awareness Against Sexual Violence As Prevention of Child Marriage Among Junior High School Students in the Sasana Wiyata room, Office of Education, Youth and Sports Agency Yogyakarta on Thursday (27/10).
She added that another impact of early marriages includes reduction of reproductive health, heavy economic burden, domestic violence, divorce, and suicide. Partini said early marriage should be prevented by raising the awareness of men and women since they were teenagers. According to Partini, adolescent or middle school age is a transition period in which the children like to imitate anyone and like to try on new things. Generally, teenagers are still dependent on their vicinity but wanting to have their own freedom.
To prevent early marriage among middle school students in the province, she also welcomed the activities undertaken by the Centre for Southeast Asian Social Studies (PSSAT) UGM to train agents among middle school students in Yogyakarta and educate them to be aware of the dangers they face.
Researchers of PSSAT UGM, Fatkurrohman, S, IP., M.Si., said child marriage is one of the common problems faced by current society, including Indonesia. In Southeast Asia, Indonesia ranks second after Cambodia in contributing to the numbers of child marriage. In efforts to prevent child marriage, he says, children need to be given an understanding to recognize, understand and dare to defend themselves against any form of sexual violence, reproductive health, and awareness of their rights as human beings and citizens. “Vulnerable groups are not only girls but also boys who need to be given an understanding of sexual violence so that they do not become victims and perpetrators,” she said. (UGM / adelily)