So basically our legal system is flawed and our society kind of sucks…
I normally do not follow talk shows, especially Egyptian ones where people simply keep interrupting one another until you get migraines. However, as I mentioned in my previous post, I stumbled upon a rerun about young divorced women in the Egyptian society and how un-accepting society is of them. The show had segments of random people saying how they perceive divorced women and how they would feel if their son/brother decides marrying one.
The guest was a female da3eya who also happens to be lawyer specialized in divorce cases. I am not a big fan of that woman, because I tend to find her way too… unrefined is the word I guess! However, perhaps the topic hit one sore nerve, I sat down and watched.
She said a couple of phrases that I actually liked; this is not the actual quote, but rather the closest translation to it…
Divorcee is a mere description of a status of a person; it does not define the person in any way. It’s a shame that our society treats it like a taboo or a contagious disease when God has intended it to be a relief after the pain and agony of a dead-end marriage!!
Sadly enough, in our society people always assume divorce is the woman’s fault! Perhaps that’s why it has been labeled abghad al halal, because of the negative impact it has on the divorcee; it is bagheed because we make the divorcee feel like a social outcast by rejecting her and denying her the right of dreaming of a better life.
When a young man tells his family that he wishes to marry a divorcee, especially if she has kids, his family’s reaction is most likely to be rejection! All they see is the ‘title’ and they judge her based on that; they disregard her other qualities and deny her the opportunity of a decent life, which may lead to other humiliating alternatives like civil or secret marriage, and sometimes even adultery, not that any of it is justified that way.
And as if that was not enough, the law is not even fair in that department. A divorcee automatically loses her custody rights once she remarries! Custody is transferred to either her mom or the x-husband who could already be absent, only he would use that law to spite and humiliate his x-wife!!
In such a judgmental society, and with such an impotent legal system, what do we expect divorced women to do, how do we expect them to make a decent living for themselves and their children when we start closing all legitimate doors. Divorce has become the new scarlet letter for women in our time of age.
People claim that it is the woman’s job to maintain the household, and to do her sole mission she must endure whatever hardships her husband puts her through; yes, patience is a virtue and God rewards the patient, but sadly, it leaves room for abusive husbands to take their abuse to the next level, and that is plain oppression. I have seen women who endure horrors because they are too afraid of being labeled ‘Divorcee’; how devastating is that? It’s even worse when those very same women are the first to judge their divorced sisters who stood up for their humanity and chose the hard way and chose to support themselves and their kids away from such husbands who normally never take any kind of responsibility, on the contrary they make divorce procedures longer and more expensive.
Again, it’s not just the society, it’s our legal system that makes the vicious circle of abuse continues! The moment any divorced women submits her ID for whatever purpose and people read her marital status as ‘Divorcee’, they start forming an opinion which may affect the way they treat her, it’s just sick and twisted, and unfortunately, it happens every day.
Yep, it was like salt into a wound that has not yet been healed! But seeing that someone out there spoke of what I secretly feared helped a little bit, especially that more segments showed that some people are actually more willing to be tolerant, or at least claimed they were. Some people practically said that they would picture that divorcee as a daughter or a sister, and that such a misfortune was more like an accident; it would only change in a person as much as that person allows it.
It is painfully sad to think, even for a while there, that despite how some people still think positively about the whole thing, and how people do some efforts to channel how unfair our society and legal system are, very little can be really changed. However, who knows, may be if more women start realizing that they are not alone, that some people –even if a few- can give that much acceptance, they would be able to maintain their strength and survive the painful drawbacks of ending a doomed marriage.
*The name of the show ad the guest was not disclosed since no consent was received from their end to publish this material.
**The part in italics is mere translation of my own general understanding of what the guest had said; it is in no way her own words or expressions.