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Divorced women deserve better treatment in society

OFFICIAL statistics show an increase in the number of women who get divorced at a young age. Although the majority of them are educated and hold college degrees, society still looks down upon divorced women and holds them responsible for failing to make their marriage work, Al-Riyadh daily reports.

In today’s society, divorced women should, as many people believe, not be given a second chance and only marry a divorced man or someone with poor financial prospects.

Sarah, 22, got divorced after a marriage that lasted for a year. She could not put up with her husband’s behavior and asked him to divorce her.

Beautiful, polite and well-educated, Sarah dreams of getting married to a man who will treat her kindly and love her but many people don’t think she deserves a second chance at love.

“It’s hard not to notice how other women look at me whenever I go to a wedding or any social event. Several men have proposed to me only to back out when they learned that I am a divorced woman,” she said.

Ebtihal Al-Moayed, a college student, said society views divorced women negatively regardless of their age.“If a woman gets married for the first time and then gets divorced following a failed marriage, she does not deserve a second chance.

In other words, she should not set difficult conditions for future proposers and should accept whatever proposal that comes her way.

A divorced woman is always under pressure from her family and society. Sometimes, she is forced to accept a proposal that she would not have considered if she was still a virgin,” Al-Moayed said.

Al-Moayed called on families who have divorced daughters to treat them kindly and never look down on them. They should encourage them to start life anew and never allow anyone to belittle them because of their past.

“A divorced woman should not settle for less just because of her social status; she should be treated as a human being who has the right to set conditions for future proposers.

Her family should support her and walk her through this stage until she finds the right man,” she added Waleed Abdullah, an employee, said he fell in love with his cousin but she married another man and was divorced a year later.

To him, his cousin has all the qualities he wishes to see in his dream wife but when he asked his parents to help him marry her, they became furious and asked him to forget about her because she was a divorced woman.

“For two years, I tried to talk them into it but to no avail. If a man divorces his wife, his parents will try to find the best young woman out there who has not been married before.

Why do divorced women not get the same chance and why are they treated differently, when in fact they are the victims?” Abdullah wondered.

Dr. Salih Al-Aqeel, sociology and criminology professor, said most members of society do not follow the Shariah when it comes to divorce.

“Society is still influenced by old-fashioned traditions and customs that tend to view divorced women negatively. Islam does not prohibit a man from marrying a divorced woman and does not set any conditions for such matrimony but we do,” he said.

“The new generation should reconsider many of the social traditions that have passed down from our forefathers. The first wife of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was twice a widow and was 15 years older than him,” he stressed.

“Our society is male-dominated and our young women should realize their rights and stand up for them and never let anyone make them feel down or less important just because they are divorcées.”