By: Ni’matin Khomsiyah 

In a village in the southern area of Pati, there is a culture that when a girl is engaged to her fiancée, it is normal for her to be asked out by him. Even sometimes the parents are the ones asking their children and their fiancée to go out together. Most of the teenagers there, who are still in their teens and studying in Senior High Schools and even Junior High Schools have been tied in engagements by their parents. There is a real story of a teenager named Lani (anonym) told by one of her schoolmates to the writer who is also from the same area. Unfortunately, in her young age and still studying in the second grade of Islamic Senior High School, she had to drop out of school. Because she must get married as she was 3-month-old pregnant after being forced to have sex with her boyfriend or fiancée. Whereas, Lani still wants to continue her education to the higher level. 

In another story told to someone who then shared the story to the writer, she had a friend called Sita (anonym). Sita had a very grumpy and possessive boyfriend. And it made her very afraid of her boyfriend, because if she did not obey what her boyfriend said she would be psychologically tortured with an abusive scolding. Even the boyfriend also did not hesitate to hit her and threatened that she would be killed if she asked for break up.  

Lani and Sita’s stories above are few examples of violence in dating of which most of the victims are women because society still holds the traditional view reinforcing the inequality of relations between men and women. Women are regarded as weak, passive beings that often get an arbitrary treatment. Though it is also undeniable that there are men who are victims of violence in dating, but this is very rare. 

Most people in our society, especially teenagers and youth, perceive that dating should involve amorous relationship characterized by sexual activity and fondling. In fact, this is a misperception that is often eventually used as an excuse or reason for someone to ask the opposite sex or partner to prove the love either with the willingness of two parties or by coercion. Quoting the Director of APIK Legal Aid Institute (Indonesian Women’s Association for Justice) Semarang Soka Handinah Katjasungkana in the Kompas Newspaper, Friday (11/23/2012), in Semarang there are about 1,405 cases of which are cases of violence in dating. Most violence in dating deals with cases of coercion to have sexual intercourse.

Therefore we need to rectify the perception of what is meant by dating. According to Straus in his journal Prevalence of Violence against Dating Partners by Male and Female University Students Worldwide (2004), dating is defined as “mutual” interactions, including meeting to interact and engage in activities together to explicitly or implicitly intend to continue the relationship after an agreement on the current status of the relationship. Dating is defined as an introductory process between two human beings who are usually in the stage of a series of matching search for family life known as marriage bond. In the teachings of Islam, it is better known by the process of “ta’aruf” which is also more specific in term of time limit and contains the value of mu’asyarah bil ma’ruf. However, in reality, dating becomes a new tradition practiced by teenagers and youth. There is even a saying “no dating no cool”. Dating without kissing is not cool. Dating is no longer a process toward a marriage relationship but a mere trend.

Dating is always synonymous with something beautiful, a flowery feeling. But apparently, violence can also occur in dating. Nowadays, other than domestic violence (Kekerasan Dalam Rumah Tangga) there is a new trend of violence in dating (Kekerasan Dalam Pacaran), also commonly termed dating violence in English. The violence has various forms ranging from physical, psychological, economic, and even sexual. 

Dealing with dating violence is often more difficult because dating is considered to be based on the feelings of love, sympathy, affection and other positive feelings. So someone who gets violence from her boyfriend or her partner often does not realize that it is a form of violence. Then when there are cases of dating violence, most people are also less serious about the issue. Yet any form of action in any relationship if violence is found then it cannot be tolerated. As we understand that Islam teaches its ummah to love one another, respect each other and forbids and condemns the violent and despotic acts against fellow creatures of Allah swt.

The tradition of dating is strongly influenced by how religious and cultural understanding develops in the lives of individuals in society. The perception and internalization of the values of each individual in a society are formed first in the family institution. So the family, in this case, has an important role to instill the values of Islamic teachings that are accustomed to justice, compassion, appreciation, and awareness to commit mua’syarah bil ma’ruf and when the children have reached the age of adolescents, they must be accompanied and given a proper understanding of dating. 

Considering the many cases of violence in dating (KDP) and of which the dominant case is sexual violence, therefore a comprehensive sexuality education is required for adolescents. It is important to make teenagers know about the dangers of free sex, the vulnerability of contracting different types of venereal diseases, and the problem of high birth rates. With a good understanding of sex, teens will be more cautious and responsible for themselves. In retrospect, the actual phenomenon of sexual deviance behavior in adolescents is precisely a result of their lack of understanding about sexuality and reproductive health. This is also confirmed by a survey conducted by the Center for the Study of AIDS and Infectious Sex Diseases, University of Washington, Seattle, United States (US), which concluded that comprehensive sexuality education in schools effectively avoids early pregnancy among adolescents. Wallahu’alam Bisshawab. {}


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