First News
Volume:7, Number:50
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Differences Do Us Part

Once meant for life, irreconcilable differences arising from even trivial issues are making marriages fragile and divorces more frequent

Divorce is the termination of marriage between a husband and a wife following the due processes of law and religion. The word divorce does not trigger any cheerful emotion in human mind at all. However, it is true that from the beginning of a conjugal relationship, the risk of separation is always there.

It is unavoidable in the lives of people. Although divorce and separation have difference in meaning, they are conceptually very similar to each other. Many separations do not necessarily have the legal force of a divorce, but there are thousands of examples where people separate from each other and spend their lives according to their free will. In recent times, we do not necessarily need a 'Big' or 'Serious' issue to have or give divorce. Today, especially in the western world it has become a child’s play. Trivial marital issues result in divorce. This trend has also entered a developing country like Bangladesh, where divorces are happening dime a dozen.

However, after analyzing the divorce scenario of last 10 years in the country, most of the wives identify financial crisis and most of the husbands blame their sexual impotency as the root cause of divorce. However, in the context of different lifestyle, there might be several reasons of divorce. Divorces are never expected nor desired, but sometimes they become unavoidable which in the long run affects the social and family lives of people.

Reasons of Divorce in Bangladesh.The rate of broken marriage in Bangladesh is unbelievable. Most of the divorces are initiated by women. Almost 85 percent of divorces take place within the first three years of marriage. Statistics say that ‘higher class’ and ‘lower class’ couples have high rate of divorce. A Dhaka City Corporation source says most of the divorce cases happen in the privileged families. DCC statistics shows that 80 percent of total divorces are given by the women. Approximately 7,000 incidents of divorce take place in the city area every year.

DCC says the rate is increasing every year. Extramarital affairs, sexual promiscuity, pride or vanity of upscale class, Internet, Facebook, and mobile phone are some of the root causes behind frequent divorces. Besides, Hindi serials and daily soaps from the neighboring country as well as local and foreign pornography have a huge influence on the divorce psychology. Many men as well as women are losing their morality due to the availability of these things. Lack of religious lifestyle also plays a key role behind this. There are two basic reasons behind the most divorce incidents. First: family violence, and second: absence of morality and values. Most of the women are still tortured by their husbands for dowry. Around 150-2,000 women seek help on the helpline launched by department of Women Affairs

Needless to say, 80 percent of them are related to dowry. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) informed that 87 percent of the married women in the country have been victims of their husbands’ tortures at some point of their lives. In most of the cases, wives are left with no option but to divorce their husbands. DCC investigation found out that misunderstanding, suspicion, mental, and physical torture by husbands, tendency to lie more often in conjugal life, extramarital affairs, drug addiction, broken promises, and impotency are the reasons behind the high rate of divorce. Apart from these, the other reasons are misuse of mobile phone, addiction to Facebook, Twitter, Skype, excessive greed, attempt to earn in unethical means, not giving proper time to the family, wife, and children, indifference to family duties, lack of tolerance and family values, influence and aggression of foreign culture, lack of self-satisfaction, absence of understanding, intolerance, family education, and values, etc. are the primary reasons to instigate divorce.

National Women Council has identified four reasons primary of divorce by women, which are dowry, mental torture, physical violence, and extramarital affairs of husbands. However, there is no separate research on why men divorce their wives. Some men who divorced their wives claimed their reasons as inability to give birth to children or not having a male child, physical illness, and bad characters. This makes one thing clear that complaints of addiction towards another man or woman is increasing. DCC source said, many men appeal for divorce after being tortured and harassed by their wives, but cannot write the proper reason out of the fear of humiliation.

However, there are some exceptions as well. Lately, there have been instances of men being tortured by their wives, even in the rural areas as well. Motin Mia from Rajoir Thana of Madaripur works in Dhaka. His wife lives at home. He said, "I go to my house for two days every week just to find some peace. However, torture of my wife is unbearable. In this country, women are torturing their husbands more at present. If a large number of women get independent, then it will be difficult to continue the conjugal life with them.”

However, social and psychological scientists are saying that rate of education and awareness are increasing among women, which are making them self-dependent. That is why now they do not want to suffer from torture anymore and they revolt more often than before. If that does not work, then they prefer divorce over quietly putting up with torture and abuse. Social scientists also think that some of the men and women are getting involved in extramarital affairs in recent times. This brings bitterness in marriages as well. The main reasons among all is absence of trust which is increasing among the couples for many reasons. Both of them are going out for work. They are mingling with new people, coworkers, friends, and relatives. And easy access to Internet, mobile phone, and social media has made contacts easier and uninterrupted as well.

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Professor Emazuddin Ahamed Former vice chancellor of Dhaka University

We already have lost and distorted our values. It started from the cities, and then spread in the rest of the country. He blamed the abuse of new technologies, especially, mobile phones, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and other social media platforms by their users. The absence of family values, influence of foreign cultures, absence of self-contentment, poor understanding, intolerance, and many other things are responsible for the escalating rates of extramarital affairs and divorces. We have to start anew if we want to get out of this problem.

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Professor Tajul Islam Professor of National Mental Health Institute

The main reason behind divorce is the lack of mutual trust and dependency. Modern technology and social media have aggravated this crisis further. Other things have been added to gets things more complicated. Women are no longer willing to suffer abuses silently. They also have education and financial means unlike before. As a result, they are not ready to accept any injustice from their partners. Needless to say, women are the most oppressed in our society, which is why they initiate divorce most of the time. Apart from that, in many cases we see couples getting tired of monogamous relations, which results in extramarital affairs and eventually in divorce. Financial constraints is also a big factor in many cases. Children are the most affected victims of divorce.

Divorce Statistics of DCC

According to the statistics of Dhaka city corporation (both North and South), from 2010-16, around 52,000 couple got divorced. Following is the breakdown of divorces each year: 9,000 in 2015; 8,215 in 2014; 8,214 in 2013; 7,995 in 2012; 5,322 in 2011; and 5,500 in 2010. The city corporation has been conducting research on divorce since 1995. The research is ongoing even after the DCC was divided into two separate entities. They submit a report every year in June. According to their research, 87 percent of the divorces settled were caused by extramarital relations.

According to city corporation record in 2000, the total divorce notice counted in Dhaka was 2,753. In 2001 it increased to 2,916 out of which 2,540 resulted in divorce. In other years, the calculation goes like this: 3,073 divorce notices among which 2,615 divorces took place in 2002; 3,202 divorce notices among which 2,961 resulted in divorce in 2003; 3,338 notices among which 338 were settled in 2004. Every year the rate of divorce notice is increasing, causing difficulties for the city corporation officials to handle the pressure. Earlier the law department of the city corporation used to conduct the judicial process and trial. Since the pressure is immense, it had formed 10 judiciary boards in 10 areas from 2006 to cope with the pressure. According to the statistics of these 10 areas, the number of divorce in 2005 was 5,525; in 2006 it increased to 6,120. The number of divorces was 7,200 in 2007, 7,078 in 2008, and 7,704 in 2009. In last five years 6,547 divorces took place in Khulna. In Khulna city corporation area, 946 divorces took place in 2010, 1,074 in 2011, 1,181 in 2012, 1,254 in 2013, 1,419 in 2014 and 673 until June of 2015.

According to the data provided by the two city corporations in Dhaka and Women Lawyers’ Association, women appeal for divorce in most of the cases. According to the city corporation, in last 14 years, 20,653 incidents of divorce were recorded, among which 14,911 were filed from the women’s side and the rest 5,742 were filed by men. The judiciary board said in last 11 years, 70.85 percent of total divorce in the city area was initiated by women, and the rest 29.15 percent was appealed by men. Most of the women were aged between 25 and 35 when the filed for divorce.

Divorce Around the World

According to statistics, the number of divorces in the US was 56,000 in 1969 which increased up to 1,60,000 in 2002. Europe has also seen 20 percent rise in divorce. Although the rate is slower compared to the Western world, it is increasing in India as well. In the 1990s, every year around 1,000 cases were filed for divorce. After a decade, in 2000, the number jumped to 9,000.

Last year, at least 1.4 million divorce appeals have been heard in Chinese court. Duan Hua, Senior Official of Supreme People’s Court (SPC) said that 3,460,000 couples got divorced in 2016 at the civil court. The civil ministry informed that in 2015, at least 3,150,000 couples divorced each other in civil office. In 2014, the number was 2,960,000. In Denmark, the number of yearly divorces is more than the number of marriages. The Danish Statistics Bureau says, in 2009, approximately 14,940 couples divorced against 10,111 marriages, which shows the high divorce rate in the country. In 2013, the number of divorces increased as 18,858 which was 15,709 in 2012. On the other hand, in 2006 the total number of marriages was 19,000 but in 2013 it dropped to 8,377. A recent research in Britain shows that the divorce rate has increased due to the excessive use of Facebook. One in every seven British citizen divorces his or her partner because of social media addiction. As of now, Facebook has become the worst and dangerous platform for wrecking marriages. Andrew Nuberry, Head of Family Law of Sleter and Gordon said in one of his online statements that Facebook did not have any influence in the divorce cases five years back. However, now often in their divorce appeal couples complain about some issues, which are directly or indirectly related to the social media.

He said that social media is the new ‘minefield’ of divorce. If someone steps on the wrong spot, explosion is a must. Almost 25 percent couples informed that they have a fight once in every week because of the use of social media. And around 17 percent informed that they also fight once in a week with some of the issues of their partner’s Facebook account. Almost 58 percent people confessed that they know their partners’ account details and even passwords. They keep an eye on the social media activities of their partners. According to sources, posts, and photos shared in Facebook are becoming one of the main reasons for divorce in recent days.

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Professor Mehtab Khanam Psychologist and social scientist

There are two basic reasons behind the increased rate of divorce. Firstly, women are more educated now than before. They are also now more aware of their rights. So, they choose the option to divorce instead of suffering quietly. Also, women are not afraid of social and family bindings. Moreover, some divorce incidents occur due to the vanity of daughters of rich fathers. They often get involved in extramarital affairs in their uncontrolled lifestyle. They become addicted to drugs as well. Secondly, mobile companies provide many offers. Additionally, Internet, website, Facebook, and pornography have become very easily accessible. As a result, they do not hesitate to flout family bonds and moral barriers.

Economy Marriage Lasts Long

A research conducted by the economists of Emory University, US shows that extravagant marriages do not last long, which means, the divorce rate is high among the people who had spent more in their marriages. The research also said that the more expensive wedding ring one has, the most likely the couple has the risk of divorce. The research says the husband, who gives a ring worth USD500 to USD2,000 to his wife, has 1.3 times greater chance to save their marriage than the husband who bought wedding ring worth USD2,000 to USD4,000. Besides, the weddings worth more than USD20,000 have 3.5 times more chance to result in divorce than the wedding worth USD5,000 to USD10,000 USD. They also have noticed that the higher the number of guests attending a wedding, the lower is the chance of that marriage ending in divorce.

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Advocate Elina Khan Executive director of Bangladesh Human Rights Foundation

The primary characteristic of women is tolerance. If they were tolerant then the number of divorce would not have been so high. If they are tortured, seeking divorce right away is not the solution. They should observe and understand the situation for some time. This rate of divorce can be reduced if they act more patiently. If they hold onto family values and tolerance, then it will help to reduce the rate. Lack of trust is increasing among the couples. They are engaging with their coworkers, friends, and others. It is not limited to outside meet ups only; they are connected with each other via mobile phones, internet, and social media. If there is no transparency in a relationship, then it creates its own hazards. To avoid this, a strong bond of trust has to be built with each other from the very beginning. The mentality of tolerance and compromise should prevail. Decisions must be taken without haste.

A Social Decay

When two people are joined by the holy vow of marriage, they have a dream to keep the relationship forever. No one expects this relation to end in the middle of their journey of togetherness. Naturally, the larger families of husbands and wives expect marriages to last until the end. This holy relation called marriage is the foundation of any society. The couples grow mutual dependency on their partners. They take responsibility of each other. They grow respect for each other. This is expected from all healthy marriages.

Although we are behind western societies in terms of education, nature, health, economy, knowledge, science, and technology, our lower divorce rate is something which we can be proud of. We believe people from the west are more selfish and less tolerant. They do not take their marriages seriously. They stay together as long as they enjoy each other’s company. Their choice changes in days. That is why they cannot hold onto their marriages. Thus, the rate of divorce is much higher in their countries. In contrast, we take marriage very seriously in our country. We save our marriage even though we have to make a lot of sacrifices. We try to keep the marriage going, especially for the sake of our children. Naturally, because of this we have lower divorce rate compared to the western countries. High divorce rate creates problems. People suffer from loneliness and depression. It can be difficult for single parents to raise their children.

However, the worst sufferers of divorce are the children. For the complete psychological development of the children, love, care, and guidance of both parents are needed. It is very tough, nearly impossible, for parents to replace each other. Children have equal love for both parents. So it is difficult for kids to hate or take sides in fight between parents. Death of parents create a vacant space in the minds of children. However, if parents get divorced, a permanent sadness afflicts their children.

Divorce Rate Rises in Showbiz

Recently the showbiz industry in Bangladesh has seen some divorce incidents in regular and short intervals. Right after the divorce of singer Salma, and model-and-actress Sharika also got divorced. Now, the news is out that actress Shabnur has divorced her husband. However, Shabnur has denied this claim. Some more news of divorce have deepened the issue. Some broken love affairs of celebrities were in the news for a long time. However, the divorce rate in the media industry has been alarming. A series of divorce incidents are taking place in the media. This affected the fans and viewers since many of them follow these starts as their idols. This type of news creates a negative perception among the viewers about the showbiz world. In 2016, the second marriage of actress Srabosti Dutta Tinni ended up in divorce. Everyone was surprised after the divorce of Shimul-Nadia celebrity couple and Nadia’s marriage with Nayem. On the other hand, many could not believe musician Ibrar Tipu’s divorce with his wife model and actress Mithila which was triggered by an extramarital affairs. Lately, the divorce news of Sarika and Mahim Khan, and Shabnur and Anik Mahmud added more to this divorce trend. However, divorce is nothing new in the showbiz. Earlier, many celebrities including Shubarna Mustafa, Opi Karim, Tarin, Romana, Apurba, Prova, Hridoy Khan, Shujana, Bijori Barkatullah etc. got divorced.

Things to Do Before Taking Divorce

Everyone has the right to take any decision in his or her life. If someone has no other option but to seek divorce at some point of life, she or he must take the time to think it over carefully. If someone can carry out the conjugal life accordingly, then divorce is unnecessary. Therefore, the couples have to go beyond their hesitations and confront each other to seek solutions. Close family members can also be brought to the discussion table. If that does not help, then they can go for legal advice and professional counseling.

Some Bizarre Divorce Stories

The divorce index climbing upwards around the globe proves that divorce nowadays barely requires a valid reason. There are hundreds of bizarre reasons for divorce, some of which are pretty amusing and somewhat hard to believe. From divorcing one’s husband of 17 years over codename to listening to some words uttered by a pet bird, there are hundreds of peculiar reasons to get divorced around the world.

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