Myth or Fact, Family Members Can Be Violent Perpetrators. Watch it through the Perspective of the American Murder Documentary: The Family Next Door

Indonesia has again recorded a dark history. Recently, the public has been shocked again by cases of violence against minors. The case took place in a family environment, a personal domain, where suspect S (51) raped H (16) and killed him in a despicable way. Based on the examination results, Saturday (22/05), it is suspected that the murder occurred because the victim wanted to fight back when she was raped for the second time. In addition, the perpetrator is also charged with slashing the victim’s hand to make it look like a suicide case to cover up his actions. So, what is the actual condition of Indonesian children at home? Are they safe enough, or are they still vulnerable to violence?

Who is the Watts Family?

Watts Family (Source

This Netflix original documentary tells the true story of the murders of the Watts family. Anyone who watches this film will feel devastated and angry at the heinous act committed by Chris Watts (35), a husband and father of two daughters. He killed Shanann (34), his pregnant wife, and their two daughters, Bella (4) and Celeste (3). Director Jenny Popplewell and her team managed to adapt the very harmonious story of the Watts family into a film that caught the attention of many audiences.

The Watts Family Murder Tragedy

Through notes and reports received during the investigation, this film tells the story of Chris and Shanann’s first meet until Chris brutally kills his wife, two daughters, and a future son. The motive for the murder was Shanann’s suspicion of Chris’s infidelity. Even if Chris cheated on her, he couldn’t justify the heinous thing he had done. He could have divorced his wife. No one has the right to throw away and kill his family like trash. Why did Shannan, Bella, Celeste, and the child in Shanann’s womb have to lose their lives for Chris’s wish?

Prosecution and Punishment for Chris Watts

On August 21, 2018, after a long investigation and trial, Chris Watts was charged with five counts of first-degree murder. Chris was proven legally and convincingly to have killed his wife, two daughters, and their future child. Chris was also found guilty of intentional disposal and destruction of bodies. Chris Watts pleaded guilty to murder on November 6, 2018, and was sentenced to life in prison on November 19, 2018, without parole.

Flashback to the Condition of Children in Indonesia

According to the story of H and many other child victims of domestic violence, the report emphasized that cases like this did not only happen once or twice in Indonesia. Komnas Perempuan’s 2020 Annual Note (CATAHU) states that violence in the family environment, a personal domain, is one of the most common cases. These cases include Violence Against Wives (KTI) which ranks first with 3,221 cases (50%), followed by violence in dating with 1,309 cases (20%), and violence against girls with 954 cases (15%) occupies the third position. In addition, this violence experienced the same pattern, namely physical violence (31%), sexual violence (30%), psychological (28%), and economic (10%). Thus, women and children can become victims of violence from an early age.

What is the Role of Society in Combating Violence Against Children?

Sexual violence or rape is usually accompanied by threats, physical violence, psychological violence, and brutal murder. A home that should be a safe and comfortable place can make some children feel the opposite after experiencing violence. The government is not enough to only issue the laws but must be followed by strengthening the role of the community. Society must help victims to recover, not be silent and give horrible stigma.

Writer : Illiyin Keikori
Editor : Nadia Amani Alya
Translator : Hasna Fatina


Afifiyah, S. (2019, April 28). Chris Watts, Perselingkuhan dan Pembunuhan Keluarga. Diakses dari

Almaliki, M., & Setianto, E. B. (2021, Mei 24). Perkosa dan Bunuh Anaknya, Seorang Ayah di Kudus Berurusan dengan Polisi. Diakses dari

Komisi Nasional Anti Kekerasan Terhadap Perempuan. (2021). Lembar Fakta dan Poin Kunci . CATAHU Komnas Perempuan (p. 5). Jakarta: Komnas Perempuan.

Shelavie, T. (2020, Oktober 4). Film Dokumenter Netflix American Murder: The Family Next Door Buat Penonton Menangis dan Hancur. Diakses dari

Wijaya, A. (2020, Oktober 15). 6 Hal Menarik Film Dokumenter ‘American Murder: The Family Next Door’. Diakses dari IDN Times:

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x