Friday, July 10, 2009

A Child Bride and Unfaithful Husbands

Two articles - one on a child bride and the other on unfaithful husbands - which are not in either of our two local newspapers today.

Just another child bride that isn't actually going to be a bride after all. Saudi Arabia's National Human Rights Society has stepped up to the plate to end the marriage of the 11-year-old child to a man who is three times her age [he's 40], and who has six kids with wife no. 1. The marriage has been "declared null and void."

The little girl has her siblings to thank for intervening and urging "the Society to prevent the marriage, forcefully undertaken by their father." [Emphasis, mine.] Sanity prevails in the minds of the little girl's 18 and 19-year-old brothers and her 20-year-old divorced sister. The little fifth grader was going to be married off by her father for "a huge amount of money and a car as a dowry." Surely they would have lived happily ever after... The society has "managed to secure an undertaking from the girl's father not to get her married until the girl reaches 18 years of age." Phew. The little girl has another seven years until she realizes that her life is over. The 20-year-old divorced sister says, "Our position was weakened due to the position of mother, who supported father for the child marriage. My parents were not ready to learn a lesson from the bitter experience of mine. My father got me married to a man while I was 11, and later I was sent back home as a divorcee..." Oh my goodness! That this woman had no say in her own life - and was married at 11-years-old, too!! Just wrong. And, sad. Hopefully, she will be able to find some happiness in life in the short term. It is certain that her parents have done nothing to provide any.

Sometime ago the marriage of a little 8-year-old girl made the news, and caused such an uproar that authorities were forced to step in and basically force the courts to allow her to get divorced from her pedophile husband. There was much talk, at that time, about how marriages were going to be regulated and that a minimum age would be set. Just talk. No action. Now? More talk. "Saudi authorities are seriously thinking about enacting a law... and impose [a] ban on marriages before the age of 18." Oops. My mistake. They are not talking - they are thinking.

Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Subaihi said "that marriage of children can not be reckoned as a common phenomenon in the Saudi society." Oh, really? Then what would you call it? He says, "However, there is an apprehension that cases of marriages of minor girls without their knowledge are on the rise in the society." Is it just me, or are those two statements just a wee bit contradictory?

Last week I missed another child-bride story last week - there is a 10-year-old little girl who is going to marry someone 15 years her senior. The article, which is here, says, "He [the groom] will no doubt violate her childhood [gee, 'ya think?!!] but it is a violation that is legitimized by both social norms and a silent judiciary." Oh my gosh. Just so wrong. On so many different levels. But "marriage of children" is not "a common phenomenon in the Saudi Society." Nope. It sure isn't. Not at all.

How many wives let their husbands go on vacation alone? Seems like somewhere I read something about it becoming more common in the States for husbands and wives to take separate vacations. Maybe it really isn't all that uncommon. I have let my DH go on vacation without me - it was a golf vacation with the guys. If I had a choice of going on a golf vacation or sitting home and watching paint dry, I'm going to choose watching paint dry. On the other hand, if DH decided that he wanted to take a cruise and go to Greece and Turkey without me - he would find himself in the position of needing a good divorce attorney... There is a place for this - separate vacations. And, I've headed off to the States almost every year except for this year - without DH - for three weeks - I go home to spend time with my Mom and my Son.

No doubt it takes a very strong marriage and a great deal of trust to make the separate vacation thing work. If we had only one vacation a year, and like I said, if DH said he was going off to do something that I wanted to be part of and he said, "No, you're going to stay home," it would be a very big problem. I am not worried about that happening. And the least of my worries when DH goes off on a golf vacation is that he will be out philandering. Wives here worry about that, though, apparently. The article is somewhat misleading in its first few paragraphs but then gets to the real issue, reporting that "several Saudi housewives are wary of their husbands going alone to spend summer vacation abroad. They are suspicious of the vacation plans of their spouses to go alone without taking them or any other family members with them." Ahh, yeah. I would be suspicious and wary, too, if I was in that position.

I'd like to be more empathetic to the problem, rather than finding it comical. Not that I find a deadly disease funny - it is not - but that the husbands don't have the common sense or decency to prevent such a scenario from occurring - well - sometimes you get what you deserve. When prevention is so readily available in most parts of the world - and so inexpensive - why the heck would you sleep with someone - who is not your spouse - and risk bringing home a disease for which there is no cure? Women here, whose husbands are traveling abroad and alone, have "voiced their fear that their husbands might contract Aids and come back carrying the deadly virus to create havoc in their family life." I cannot help but chuckle, though, when I read statements like this: "Maha Mohammad, a Saudi woman, said she was always afraid of her husband becoming a victim of the disease whenever he leave for abroad." Truly a WTF statement. Her husband is a victim?!! No, Maha, your husband is not a victim. If he is traveling abroad and on the prowl for something extra he is hardly a victim. He is a cheating, two-timing, philanderer - but he is not a victim. She says, "I always live in fear and anguish while my husband goes abroad for vacationing." He leaves you at home? How often do you let him go abroad to vacation without you?! "Last time, I told him to carry out medical tests before coming back home so that I can live with him in satisfaction and relief." Well, there's some trust in that marriage. My gosh - the woman is practically giving him permission to be a cheating, two-timing, philanderer!

Just read the article. I could continue and I'm sure I could add more personal comment and snark. But, it is just too nice outside [we have had the most incredibly perfect tanning weather the last few days! only 102° and sunshine and a slight breeze with no dust], and I need to put my "work" clothes on and get out there. Cannot be missing prime sun time [10A to 2P]. The Slave Trade is going to take me a while to get through...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Site Meter