The stigma of Divorce and the endeavours to survive.

It’s the 21st century yet women of my society prefer living in an abusive relationship rather seeking separation given the stigma associated with divorce and the mental pressure that it would incur afterwards; never realising if the relationship worths the toils?

When we hear the word “Divorce” the first expression that pops up in our mind is something despicable, sinful to mention; a forbidden, taboo term. A failed individual who did not go the extra mile making one’s relationship function adequately. Right? We never asked or inquired about the reasons that led person in concluding one of the hardest decisions. The word “Divorce” is enough to explain. But what, if the person pushed every length bridging the unbridgeable chasms yet, fell flat because the partner didn’t worth it? What if all attempts to survive an abusive relationship only deteriorated an already vicious marriage?

It’s the 21st century, yet women of our society persist shouldering the burden of shame and regret attached with divorce. Divorce has never been an easy option, especially for the woman whose entire survival depends on the name of her husband. From childhood to the last day of life, women are taught only one lesson; Survive, Survive and Survive. No matter how impossible it becomes to keep up the marriage, the endeavours to make it work should never be abandoned. Here a woman (from Punjab) of four children was thrown the acid on. She survived the burnt but the fear that her parents would never accept her in the family again and that her children wouldn’t survive without their father, ended her up in the same house she was thrown acid on. She should have left that relationship but again divorce was not deemed an option to be contemplated. Our people would accept the dead bodies of their daughters (killed or committed suicide) given insufferable abuse but would never accept their breathing divorced-daughter.

Our people would accept the dead bodies of their daughters given insufferable abuse but would never accept their breathing divorced-daughter.

Even when marriages are at their verge of collapse, many individuals choose that odds instead of facing the social stigma of being considered a divorcee. According to a recent study by Slater and Gordon, published in The Daily Mail, one in 10 individuals said that they would continue to work on their marriage because being in an unhappy marriage was preferable to be divorced. Having said that when a woman, after the efforts of years to survive an abusive relationship, besides incurring social stigma, decides to get a divorce, echoes her mettle. Divorce, indeed, isn’t something pleasant to make an emblem of honour and wear on the forehead. To tell people with pride how you, couldn’t keep your marriage intact. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean to withstand an abusive relationship just because divorce is not a favourable option to culture. In my society, though, a man could be a cheater, ruthless abusive to his wife and children, irresponsible when it comes to delivering assistance to his family, a gambler and an addict, yet a woman is encouraged to find ways to stay in that relationship. In addition, she is asked to procreate, the more she breeds, the better she would learn ways to manage her vicious relationship. Obviously, Divorce is not an option.

Trying for years in vain, eventually, when a woman decides to get a divorce, she is compelled to face the wrath of societal stigma. What, why, how? The pressure to re-examine the decision, to give another chance (already given countless chances) to that abusive person, to deliberate about the future of children, and to think about the honour of the family, keep wavering her position. The fear that people would judge or make speculations, impel the family to push their daughter to the same perdition, she strives to get rid of.

Even if the family undertake the risk of getting divorce of their daughter, another fear awaits swooping them; the fear of revenge by the husband. Could you believe it? the man who never enjoyed the company of his wife and turned her life into agony, to begin with, hence resorts to intimidating manoeuvres to dissuade and dishearten his wife from getting a divorce. Abducting, throwing acid, killing and whatnot just to keep her in an abusive relationship only because divorce would hurt his fragile ego?

Sometimes I do really ask God if he made any world for ‘women’.

Then arrives the Justice system. In Pakistan, women are demanded to relinquish their Haq-Meher if they want to get rid of an abusive relationship. The mindset behind this logic is to discourage women from getting a divorce for frivolous reasons, but what a woman with genuine reasons would do? The man keeps the meher and in return would promise the freedom of a girl? How could this ever be justified? She would have to live with the taint of divorce, the psychological stress of all the abuse she suffered, the uncertainty about her life ahead, furthermore, being deprived of her own right of meher? The man, on the other hand, gets married in a day or two and moves on.

There is no punishment for the man who turned the life of his wife into a nightmare but the woman will continue to suffer with him and without him. Sometimes I do really ask God if he made any world for WOMEN.

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  1. Sameer Khan says

    An epic writing of a high caliber.

  2. Maimoona says

    Beautifully written and couldn’t agree more to the author!!

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