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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Globalization and Divorce

I still want to talk about divorce. In this article, especially the number of divorce cases in Semarang.
Last Friday, one local newspaper stated that since January 2005 until June 2007, there have been 3570 cases, in 2005 1376, in 2006 1454, while January 2007-June 2007, 740 cases. From the number given one can conclude that the number is increasing every year. And more interesting is the data which stated that from 3570 cases, 2050 cases were from women (in Bahasa Indonesia we call it “gugat cerai”, the women were the one who filed the divorce), while the rest, 1520 cases were from men (in Bahasa Indonesia we call it “cerai talak”, the men filed the divorce).

From the statistics given, the highest factors of divorce were caused by irresponsibility. It can refer to both parties—the men or the women’s irresponsibility. Unfortunately the data did not mention which was higher, the men or the women’s irresponsibility. However, the second highest factor—financial constraints—gave illustration that it was more the men’s irresponsibility. The fact that Indonesian people still adhere to patriarchal culture strongly shows that the main breadwinner in one family must be the man. (The phenomenon of househusbands is obviously still not well-liked.) When the breadwinner cannot carry out his role well, it can become a very easy factor to file a divorce. This is supported with one important factor, though: the women must feel at ease with their “new status”: being a divorcee since in Indonesia, it is still very insecure to have the status of “divorcee”. People are always suspicious that those divorcees (moreover if the women are still young) will steal other women’s husbands. This is one main reason why in the past women chose to go on living in hellish marriage rather than being suspected unfairly by society to steal other women’s husbands.

The third factor of the divorce is having quarrel continuously. The quarrel can be spurred by different way of thinking, or by other man/woman. The following factor is moral: be it bad moral of the man/woman, jealousy, and polygamy. Some other factors are ranging from domestic violence, imprisonment, force to get married, until physical deformity.

Commenting to the high number of women filing divorce, HM As’ad Fathoni, the secretary of the Religion Department of Semarang said that probably it was caused by globalization era that influenced women’s point of view; they are of opinion that they are now equal to men.

It cannot be denied that one impact of globalization era is the changing behavior of attitude in people, including their perspective in viewing life. We can foresee that in the future, in Indonesia there will be no marriage-oriented culture anymore; or at least the idea that the only way to pursue happiness via marriage will weaken.

However, when I remember again some writings produced by my teenage students that they would rather get married than live single, it made me think that if Indonesian people will still adhere to marriage-oriented culture, we can avoid the increasing number of divorce by making men (or patriarchal women) respect women more; that women are not the second sex so that they also deserve to be happy, to be respected with their choice and their individuality in life.

PT56 10.10 170707

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