An Indonesian woman, Suwarti, allegedly posed as a man in order to get married to a woman she loved but was arrested by the police on Thursday, 15th July, after the shocked wife discovered the deception.
The wife, Heniyati, became suspicious when her ‘husband’ refused to consummate the marriage. As a result, she alerted authorities several months after they tied the knot in a ceremony on Java island and her ‘husband’ was consequently arrested and detained.
Suwarti, who like many Indonesians, goes by one name, admitted to the deception and could face up to seven years in prison for falsifying her identity, according to local chief detective Muhamad Kariri.
As the police continues with investigations to find out the reason for Suwarti’s deception, Kariri added that:
“All Suwarti would say is that she had been disappointed by a previous marriage, from which she had a 17-year-old child.”
When they met, 40-year-old Suwarti gave herself the male name Muhamad Efendi Saputra and said she was a police officer.
After a whirlwind romance lasting a couple of months, the pair married late last year in their home district of Boyolali, with Suwarti reportedly even hiring people to pretend to be her male alter ego’s relatives at their wedding.
After several months of married life, Heniyati finally discovered an identity card in Suwarti’s wallet showing who she really was”.
Heniyati, the 25 year-old deceived wife, spoke to the Jakarta Post newspaper saying: ‘She falsified all the documents for the marriage… My family and I were deceived. We feel so embarrassed”.
Society in Muslim-majority Indonesia, particularly in rural areas, remains deeply conservative, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community often face a lot of discrimination.
Scores of Indonesians, as well as foreigners – both from within Indonesia and from around the world – have called for a long sentence, speaking out against the deception.