ERBIL — Iraq is among the countries with highest divorce rate as it records one separation almost every four minuets. The country has already suffered decades of war which has left millions of women widowed, but the failure of marriages are turning into another social issue.
In a patriarchal society like Iraq, women are believed to suffer the most in every failed marriage, but they are also the ones whom are often blamed for the failure.
Society excuses divorced men, but punishes divorced women.
Iraqi women’s rights activist, Fatima al-Assadi, criticizes the society and the laws for putting all the blames, almost in every case, on the women, making the situation even worse for survival in a society which also “looks down upon divorced women”.
“Why a woman should be ashamed for making a decision on her own fate,” Assadi told BasNews, noting that women should play the role of both parents for their children after they divorce, and that is another issue for women who barely are financially independent in Iraq.
In patriarchy societies, women cannot enjoy the right of defending themselves even in social or familial disputes, while men are allowed to speak out, and that would help men to put all the blames on women for the divorce.
Assadi said there are several reasons for the majority of divorce cases in Iraq. Among them is the opening of society and the chance of direct connection between young men and women via social media platforms, which in most of the cases will not help the sides reach a concrete understanding about each other and their goals.
She went on to explain that there are also cases in which women initiate divorce procedures due to the fact that men, who are more fond of traditions, tend to prevent women from working outside home.
Researches show that many cases of divorce are filed by very young couples, some of them even below 20. They believe that religious or traditional beliefs push parents to arrange marriage for their children without having their approval or helping them to understand the sacrifices they should make for a marriage to work.
In such cases, Assadi believes divorce is not a bad option as it could end an ordeal for the couple and give the the option of a new beginning.
“Ending an unstable marriage is better than continuing it forever,” she said.
20% of Marriages in Iraq End with Divorce in First Three Year
According to official statistics, 10,000 divorces are recorded across Iraq every month, which makes it one divorce every four minutes, almost the highest rate in the world.
Rafa Hussein, another women’s rights activist, believes that no social stigmas should be attached to divorce as it could be a way out of a turmoil in some cases. However, she emphasizes that children will pay the highest price when their parents decide to divorce.
It must also be noted that Iraqis tend to have children in the very first year after their marriage, and the number of children is not limited to one or two, which could make the situation even harder.
Hussein noted during an interview with BasNews that the family of a divorced woman plays a key role in helping her leave the difficulties behind and move on. That, once again stresses the issue of women’s dependency for survival in a traditional society like Iraq’s.