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Divorce rate in Bahrain hits 88pc in 2010

Manama, October 23, 2011

A total of 1,303 people tied the knot last year in Bahrain and 1,158 got divorced, marking a divorce rate of 88.7 per cent, according to latest figures from the Sunni and Shi'ite courts.

This compares to 4,909 marriages in 2002 and only 838 divorces - a rise of 72 per cent over the period.

Rights activists say Bahraini women feel more independent and are no longer willing to suffer unhappy or abusive relationships.

They also blamed a lack of preparation among couples before they get married, which can sometimes lead to quick divorces.

"Women have become more empowered and stronger and will not tolerate being disrespected or suffer physical, mental or emotional abuse,” said Bahrain Women's Union media spokeswoman Fatima Rabea.

"Being called a divorcee is not looked down upon nor has it a stigma as much as people perceived before. Part of it because women have become more independent and are able to take care of themselves and their children on their own rather than depend on their husband."

Rabea said while more women were seeking divorces from Sharia or family courts, most separations could be prevented.

"The main cause of separation is not understanding your partner properly and dealing with problems in the wrong way," she added.

"Lack of understanding and wrong handling of situations lead to simple problems which end up triggering the actual separation."

Rabea said divorces almost always have hidden issues that can remain unresolved for years.

She said that couples should be aware that they come from different mindsets and should not try to take their bachelor lifestyles into their marriage.

"Most couples don't know how to deal with problems and should start to learn how to strengthen their dialogue and communication skills," said Rabea.

She said the practice of ending a marriage by text message was inhumane, disrespectful to women and contrary to human rights.

"Just like marriage started in the right way, it should end the right way since it didn't start over a message either," said Rabea.

She called for more preparation for couples ahead of marriages to help reduce divorce rates.

Despite growing divorce rates, lawyer Abeer Abbas said most married women remain patient and often put up with mental, physical and emotional abuse.

"Most women choose to stay with their husbands and live in separate rooms regardless of the husband's bad treatment or bad behaviour," she said.

"This decision is taken for the sake of the children or because women are afraid to be called a divorcee. The most common reason for divorce in Bahrain is mistreatment and physical abuse and the least is bad behaviour which involves drugs, alcohol or having an emotional disorder. Other reasons include lack of financial support and infidelity."

Abbas called for action to be taken to slow down rising divorce rates, saying couples in the 20-29 age group were more likely to separate during the initial years of marriage.

But despite the alarming figures, Kuwait has the highest divorce rate in the GCC and Saudi Arabia the lowest, according to Booz and Company sociologist and senior adviser Mona Al Munajjed.

Clinical psychologist Dr Bana Bu Zaboon said women have become less afraid of being divorced and a large number of divorcees get remarried.

She explained almost all unhappy marriages suffered a lack of communication, shared understanding and contentment.

The expert said growing divorce rates in Bahrain were part of a worldwide trend.

"In the past, women did not know their rights, women are now more educated in this field and refuse to be victims," she added. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Bahrain | Manama | Divorce | Courts |

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