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February 13, 2004

Hanging Women

The Arab News of Saudi Arabia has printed this complaint about the common practice of allowing women to hang.

What is meant by a “hanging woman” is that she is neither up nor down. She is neither married nor divorced. Legally, she is married but is not living with, nor supported by, her husband. The term is used to describe a woman whose husband refuses to divorce her. As strange as it may be, such cases are common in Saudi Arabia.

Yikes. Abandoned, while not even allowing her to remarry, and in a society where such a situation is horribly difficult to deal with.

“Hanging” a woman is about the worst thing a man can do to a woman in Saudi Arabia. Her life moves into a state of being on constant hold. Not only is she unable to remarry, she is unable to do anything that requires permission from her legal guardian — which is just about everything. In this case, of course, her legal guardian is her husband. So there she is — “hanging”!

Well, actually the worst thing a man can do is accuse of a capital offense like adultery or something.

Worse than separation or divorce, a “hanging” woman is at the mercy of a vindictive man. Normally a man who “hangs” a woman is planning to stand in the way of everything she wants to do. Many refuse permission for her to travel, to work, or even to study.

Fundamentalist Islam in a nutshell.

The most important question is: How can this state of affairs possibly be legal? How can a man be given the right to have such absolute control over a woman’s life? How can any human being be left at the mercy of a person seeking constant revenge? Many of these women have been refused divorces time and time again by judges who see “no reason” to grant a divorce. Years of their lives are wasted while their husbands watch, smirking at their futile grasps at freedom. The men of course, being entitled to four wives, usually remarry, have children and are virtually unaffected by the situation. If these men lack not only morals but common decency, what else besides the law can remedy the situation?

And the problem is that a new law upsets the fundamentalists, who either get it repealed or use it as an excuse for a violent revolution to go back to a true Islamic state. They're stuck on a 1400 year old merry-go-round and have to want to get off it they're to get anywhere.

February 13, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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