Media ‘sensationalizing’ mutilation cases
Although the number of mutilation cases in Jakarta is small compared to other crimes, cases repeatedly occur in the city and each time grab people’s attention, partly due to the incessant media reports.
A criminologist at the University of Indonesia, Josias Simon, said that the main factor behind mutilated victims was a broken interpersonal relationship that triggered jealousy and anger.
Josias said, however, that exaggerated reports from mass media like television, newspapers and news portals opened an opportunity to anyone to initiate the same crimes.
“Sometimes, a television show not only vulgarly exposes the perpetrators but also the how-to’s and methods they use to execute the victims,” he told The Jakarta Post in a recent interview.
He said that people who watched the show would store the reports in their minds and recall them when they faced a situation that “forced” them to commit mutilation.
The Jakarta Police are now investigating two mutilation cases that occurred early this month.
The first case involved BS and his maid, T, who allegedly killed and mutilated his wife Darni Sri Astuti. They threw Darni’s body parts, contained in plastic bags, onto the Cikampek toll road in East Jakarta.
The second mutilation was conducted by Alanshia, 32. Alanshia allegedly mutilated Tony Arifin Djomin, 45, after the victim tried to collect Alanshia’s debts of Rp 200 million (US$20,600). accumulated through soccer gambling.
Jakarta Police psychology unit chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Arif Nurcahyo said both BS and Alanshia firstly wanted to torture the victims but then they died.
“When his wife died, BS mutilated her to remove his traces,” he said.
Arif said according to the law of human psychology, 75 percent of murder cases are conducted by people who know the victims.
Arif said both cases were not copycat cases but there was a possibility they learned how to mutilate the body from the media.
“Reports on mutilation cases without any education process could inspire people to do the same thing,” he said.
Arif took an example of the case of Verry Idham Henyansah, aka Ryan, from Jombang, East Java, who killed and mutilated 15 men and the case of Sri Rumiyati, who mutilated her husband and put him on the Mayasari Bakti bus connecting Pulogadung in East Jakarta and Kalideres in West Jakarta in 2008.
“Ryan’s cases took the media limelight in July, while the sequent murder took place in September. Sri admitted in front of both investigators and the psychologist that she copied Ryan’s methods,” he said.
University of Indonesia sociologist Otho Hernowo Hadi said the exaggerated expositions of crimes — including mutilation, in quantity and magnitude — in the mass media made people became more permissive toward what happened.
Otho said the mass media needed to play smart in reporting criminal cases, so they would not be negative reference points for the viewers.
“The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission [KPI] also needs to be more active in monitoring and controlling reports containing violence,” he said. (cor)