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Monday, July 16, 2007


Today Monday 16 July 2007 the local newspaper quoted data from Dirjen Bimas Islam (Islamic Societal Councelling) that mentioned high percentage of divorce in big cities. In Jakarta, 75% married women filed divorce, in Semarang, my hometown, 70% women did it, while in Surabaya, the capital city of East Java, 80% women did it. This data was stated by Khofifah Indar Parawansa, the chief of Muslim women division of Nahdlatul Ulama, one biggest Islamic social organization in Indonesia yesterday in Sragen, one town located in Central Java.

Khofifah stated that the high percentage of women who filed divorce was engendered by irresponsible husbands toward the wife and family. Irresponsible husbands caused unhealthy and disharmonious relationship in the family. Furthermore, Khofifah also mentioned that the high death rate in pregnant women was also caused by husbands who did not really care toward their wives’ health and welfare. The representatives of United Nations Children’s Fund in Indonesia added that financial constraints gave a high impact toward the relationship between men and women. Thus, eventually this triggered the increasing rate of women filing divorce.

In my opinion, we must not forget that the increasing number of women filing divorce is also caused by at least two factors:

  1. The fact that more women become more financially independent. More women work so that they no longer depend on their husbands financially. They do not need to feel worried that they will be difficult to survive after divorce due to financial constraints.
  2. Women become more confident and comfortable in their life. They no longer view marriage as a sacred institution so that they have to sacrifice their happiness only to go on living in hellish marriage due to irresponsible and selfish husbands. They believe that they also human beings—and not just the second sex—that deserve to make their own choice in their life.
  3. On the contrary, this change in women’s behavior (refer to options one and two above) does not mean that men change their behavior. They still consider women as the second sex so that they can go on treating their wives to their heart’s content. They still think that their wives will still adore them no matter how badly they treat the women only because they are phallic creatures.

If people from religious organizations condemn what those women do—not viewing marriage as a sacred institution anymore and break their marriage more easily than their predecessors, women from feminist organizations will support them. Besides, Khofifah, as one representative of one Islamic social organization, daringly mentioned that the increasing number of women filing divorces is caused by irresponsible husbands. Isn’t it high time for those so-called “religious” and patriarchal people change their perspective in viewing this phenomenon?

PT56 14.35 160707

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