A year ago, police in Tangerang, Indonesia, arrested a father who was accused of repeatedly raping his own teenage daughter. Tangerang is in the West Java province of Banten. The Tangerang police said the suspect, a 39-year-old man from Onyam village, divorced his wife two years prior and was living alone with the now-16-year-old daughter. Meanwhile, their daughter is now pregnant.
A year after divorcing his wife this man allegedly began having incestuous relations with their daughter. According to the police, the suspect claims that he told his daughter that she needed to have sex with him in order to rid her body of demons.
South Tangerang Police Chief Ferdy Iriawan said the suspect often gave his daughter a mixture of his semen and water to swallow.
Due to her fear of the alleged black magic’s repercussions, the daughter complied with her father’s scare tactics. She is now seven months along in her pregnancy, and it is thought that her own father may be the father.
The girl’s mother confronted her about recent behavioral changes. The child finally told her mother what she’d been going through for the previous twelve months. The mother eventually went to the police to file a case against her ex-husband.
It would be wrong to think that only people in Indonesia believe in black magic. Witch-hunts are practiced today throughout the world. Current witch-hunting hot-spots include India, Amazonia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Papua New Guinea.
People have the freedom to believe what they choose, but it’s crucial to recognize that there are risks associated with such ideas, no matter where they originated.
In another story for The Huffington Post, Kent Russell goes to the highlands of Papua New Guinea, where witch hunts and burnings are still done as part of a ritual. He writes:
Witch hunts, which had been a part of many if not all traditional Papua New Guinean cultures, are now commonplace throughout the villages, townships and small cities dotting the country. Mobs are publicly humiliating and brutally torturing neighbors, family members, friends—often but not always women—and then murdering them, or else forcing them out of their communities, which in a deeply tribal society like Papua New Guinea amounts to much the same thing.
As a faith, Islam rejects any kind of superstition, including witchcraft. The Quran and hadith (genie) talk about witchcraft, the evil eye, and jinn, which is an Arabic word for supernatural beings. Simply put, they think that certain individuals may invoke unfavorable outcomes by use of black magic.
Almost everyone in Indonesia, including top police officials, ministers, and teachers, holds this belief, and it is not going away any time soon.
In 2012, the Pew Research Centre polled Muslims throughout the globe, asking them specific questions about their beliefs in witchcraft, jinn, and the evil eye to get a sense of how pervasive these superstitions really are.
Compared to Malaysia (49%) and Thailand (17%), almost 70% of Indonesians said they believed in witchcraft.
The Indonesian Witch Hunt
There are still many people all over the archipelago who look up to dukuns (shamans), and this is especially true in Java.
They are believed to have special abilities to transcend the material world and communicate with spirits, they are consulted on a vast array of matters.
Some are healers, specializing in massage, herbal remedies, or acupuncture and tending to ailments that doctors can’t seem to fix.
Others provide advice on romance, careers, business opportunities, the best times to plant crops or hold a wedding.
However, some cases of black magic in Indonesia have led to the execution of those who were wrongly convicted of practicing it.
Many of these killings were planned in advance by a gang of seasoned witch hunters who preyed on the fears of villagers to incite them to murder.
For about $100, gang syndicates would pay a villager to spread rumors that their intended victim is a witch. When word spread across the village that a witch was living among them, the gang and the locals worked together to put an end to them.
Since sorcery and superstition run deep in fertile farming regions of West Java, not many people were shocked when, in September of 2016, a mob of furious locals beheaded a 70-year-old lady they believed was responsible for casting spells that made people sick. According to eyewitnesses, the mob gouged out her eyes and amputated several of her limbs before lopping off her skull and throwing them onto the street.
In his 2016 book “Witch-hunt and Conspiracy,” La Trobe University anthropologist Nicholas Herriman said that the number of people killed in the sorcerer murders and the subsequent ninja killings in Indonesia in 1998 was much higher than the number of people killed in the Salem witch trials. His “ninjas” are the black-masked assassins who murdered alleged sorcerers in 1998. The locals then killed these would-be assassins.
Herriman says that in the Banyuwangi area of East Java in 1998, “about 100 sorcerers were killed and many more were hurt.” The next year, as many as 150 sorcerers were killed in West Java.
An article from the Sydney Morning Herald from 2017 claims that there are still occasional murders of people thought to be dukun santet (black magic shamans). The post said that on January 10th, seven men assaulted and murdered a religious instructor in Sukabumi, West Java, because they believed he was a dukun santet.
Virgin Teenage girls who have died are especially sought after, and “families have to guard the tomb for 40 days” after their burial. Babies born on a auspicious day in the Javanese calendar are being targeted for kidnapping and murder in the West Java town of Indramayu. The bodies have been dismembered, and the heads are buried in front of the house. They think that if they do this, they will become wealthy.
- The Asmat Tribe in Papua: ability to find lost items that can invite thunderstorms.
- The Osing Tribe in East Java: An area known to the holy people. 100’s were brutally murdered because they were accused of being witch doctors.
- The Kajang Tribe in South Sulawesi: This tribe believes that they live in Tana Toa or the oldest land on earth that was first created by God.
- The Dayak Tribe in Kalimantan: Known for the flying saber (Mandau Terbang), a weapon that can be controlled remotely to attack opponents and protect friends.
- The Baduy Tribe in Banten: black magic, psychics, witchcraft, debus, and even invulnerability are common among those who reside near to urban life.
There have been extrajudicial deaths of people in Indonesia who were suspected of witchcraft, including one example of a long-term rape of a girl by her own father.
The father faces 15 years in jail for violating Article 81 of Law No. 35 of 2014, which amended Law No. 23 of 2002 on Persetubuhan Towards Minors in the Republic of Indonesia.
However, his sentence might be raised by as much as a third since it was incest.
There are plenty of cases like this. It’s just that they don’t always make the media.