The Jakarta Post
The first three months of the year have seen at least eight separate cases in which husbands have killed their wives and in some cases, their children too. The cases have occurred in Java and Sumatra and police investigations have revealed different motives for the murders.
All the cases are being investigated by the police but it is possible we will never fully understand why husbands commit such appalling crimes.
A professor in philosophy, Aaron Ben-Zeév, an expert in emotion, wrote in Psychology Today that globally almost all cases of murders committed by men against their female partners occur after the woman has ended the relationship or announced her intention to do so.
Ben- Zeév in 2008 wrote a book on romantic love with Goussinsky, R. to look into why some husbands kill their partners. They concluded that love is the cause. “Needless to say, explaining the men’s horrific behavior as stemming from love is in no way a justification for their actions. Understanding the men’s state of mind could prevent future murders; hence, we should examine the real state of mind that leads these men to kill their partners, without worrying about whether our findings are politically correct,” he wrote.
The professor said that usually the murdering man was the weaker partner, who saw the woman as his whole world and the condition of his existence. “If the man’s ability to maintain his view of himself as a human being depends on the woman being part of his life, how can he let her go? Thus, love turns the woman into a hostage—a hostage to the man’s life—and this puts her own life at risk,” he went on.
Here are the stories:
‘Why are my hands tied? Did I just kill my wife?’
Nardian, 38, also called Nardi, allegedly killed his wife, Sri Dewi, and their youngest child after he finished his evening prayers on Feb. 16 in Sumberurip village, Doko district in Blitar, East Java.
Sugeng, Nardi’s brother in law, said the tragedy happened very quickly in a downpour and during a blackout when the house was in darkness.
Sugeng and the victim’s father, Supriadi, tried to restrain Nardi but they failed. Nardi ran after his wife, who carried Vika, her seven-month-old baby, with a knife and allegedly killed them outside the house.
“It happened so fast,” said Sugeng recently. The darkness slowed Sugeng and Supriadi and when they got outside “it was too late”.
Sri’s uncle Ponidi, the nearest neighbor, found Nardi standing next to his porch while Sri and the baby lay helplessly on the ground. As Ponidi tried to pick up Sri, Nardi hugged her dead body while crying: “My love, my love...”
The rain stopped and neighbors gathered around the house but no one dared touch Nardi. They only stared at him as he paced to and fro in front of his house, completely naked. He walked about 200 meters to the crossroad, called out the dead baby’s name and cried. He then fell to his knees on the rocky village road.
The police later arrived and arrested him. He asked Ponidi: “Why are my hands tied? Did I just kill my wife?”
The next day, the police announced the results of the forensic examination of Sri and Vika’s bodies. “There are nine stab wounds in Sri Dewi’s body, including one to her chest, which went through to her lungs. In the baby’s body, Vika, there are six stab wounds, including a slash to her face,” said First Insp. Burhanuddin, Blitar Police spokesperson.
Sri’s cousin, Tarji, said Nardi and Sri had been married for 10 years and the family rarely heard of any marital problems. However, he detected some changes in Nardi about two months before the murder. Nardi went out of the house less, and was less friendly to people, Tarji said. Two weeks before the murder, Nardi was often gloomy and angry.
A day before the tragedy, a neighbor, Hariono, heard Nardi yelling at Sri.
The police have not finished their investigation but after a psychiatric examination, they declared that Nardi had mental problems and referred him to a mental institution in Malang, a bigger city in East Java.
Burhanuddin of Blitar Police said there were reports that Sri had accused Nardi of having an affair and this was the reason for their fight. But later, Nardi told the psychiatric examination officers that he had a delusion, a hallucination perhaps, that Sri was having an affair with another man.
‘I hate divorce. Just bury all of us here.’
Another husband, Adek Hariyono, killed his wife, Muntamah, and then hanged himself in Boyolali, Central Java last month, their bodies were found on Feb. 21. The police consider the case closed and did not conduct autopsies on the bodies of the couple.
Adek and Muntamah were buried separately in their respective villages.
Adek left a message before he killed himself. “I hate divorce. Just bury all of us here in Gatak [Adek’s village] so we can be close with our children. I want to tell you, [the name of his daughter], punish me and Muntamah. I’m like this because of her.” He signed the message.
“I’m sure Adek killed Muntamah. After he was sure his wife was dead, he killed himself with a rope. What a coward,” said Margono, Muntamah’s brother, at his house recently.
Margono owned the house where Adek and Muntamah lived with their two children, a 7 year old and a 2 year old. The couple had rented various houses, but in the past two years had lived with Margono.
“I will be the one who takes care of the children. I will take care of them like they’re my own,” he said.
Margono said the couple had marital problems for the past year. He did not know for sure what, but he suspected it was a monetary problem. “I often argued with them too. My sister had already filed for a divorce,” he said.
A neighbor, Heru Basuki, 63, said Muntamah had complained about their economic difficulties to his wife. Heru said the neighbors also knew about Muntamah’s plan for a divorce.
Six other cases
Media reports on tribunnews.com have cited at least six other cases of husbands killing their wives since January.
The most recent case happened in Lubuk Linggau in South Sumatra. Sudirman allegedly killed his wife, Rozalina, on March 6. The police said Sudirman tried to kill himself with rat poison before being arrested. Police believe Sudirman killed her because he could not meet her financial demands.
In Cilegon, West Java, a husband, 40, killed his wife, 25, and their baby. A relative found the bodies on March 4. The police said the husband said he had killed his wife because she refused to have sex with him because she had only given birth to their baby about a month previously.
Earlier on Feb. 27, in Bekasi, West Java, a man killed his wife because he said he had found out that his wife was with another man.
On Feb. 21, Romi Sepriawan, 30, allegedly killed his pregnant wife, Erni Susanti, 29, because he said she refused to tell him the password to her handphone. The crime happened in Sungai Serut district, Bengkulu, and the medical team in the city managed to save the baby in Erni’s womb.
In Rejang Lebong, Bengkulu, a husband, identified only as JM, killed his ex-wife and her two children, who were not his biological children on Jan. 21. Rejang Lebong Police said JM was angry because his wife divorced him six months previously.
On Jan. 6, Tangerang Police in Banten reported that they had arrested a man who had killed his wife after she asked for a divorce. The suspect, Nawier, told the police that he suspected his wife asked for a divorce because she was cheating on him. He stabbed her three times when she came over to his food stall to pick up a divorce document he had told her to come and pick up.