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Divorce rate ‘on sharp rise’ in city 23 divorce petitions filed a day on average

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UNB Report
Twenty-three divorce petitions were filed a day on average in 2013 calendar year in the capital, showing a sharp rise in the divorce rate, according to records of the two city corporations.
The records of the two city corporations -- Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) -- reveal that the number of women seeking divorce is higher than that of men as more than 65 percent of the petitioners are women.
Sociologists attribute the rising rate in divorce to individualism, lack of patience and moral education, and cultural gap between partners.
In their petitions, most of the women cited mental and physical tortures by their husbands as the main reasons for seeking an end to their relationship while husbands mentioned ‘disobedience and unrestrained lifestyle’ of their wives as the ground for seeking divorce.
In 2013, the two city corporations received 8,191 divorce petitions and 7,653 in 2012, while the undivided Dhaka City Corporation received 6,776 divorce petitions in 2011.
Officials at the city corporations said only five percent of applications are withdrawn following arbitrations arranged by the city corporation authorities.
In the nine months of the current calendar year of 2014, the DSCC alone received some 3,500 divorce petitions. It also received 4,470 divorce applications in 2012, while 4,518 in 2013.
According to statistics of one of the 10 zones of the two city corporations, a total of 3,775 divorce petitions were lodged in seven years from 2007 to 2013.
Of the 3775 petitions filed with Zone-1 DSCC, the number of women seeking divorce is 24,66 (65 pc) while that of men is 1309 (35 pc).
Only 193 (five pc) petitions out of 3,775 were withdrawn, following arbitrations arranged by the city corporation authorities.
DSCC Zone-1 executive officer Shaheena Khatun told that women petitioners seek break-up voicing against physical and psychological tortures or extramarital relations of husbands in most cases.
In many cases, upper-class women want separation for physical and psychological tortures and extramarital relationship by husbands, while lower-class women seek divorce as husbands do not provide them with maintenance costs, Shaheena Khatun said.
Terming the rise in divorce rate a sign of social degradation, sociologists think that the growing individualism, lack of patience and moral education, and cultural gap between partners are the prime reasons behind it.
Sociologist Prof Masuda M Rashid Chowdhury said as women have become aware of their rights and financially self-reliant due to education, they are not ready to tolerate physical and psychological tortures by their husbands.
“In the past, women used to endure torture by husbands in this patriarchal society, now they don’t,” she said.
Blaming rapid breaking up of joint families for the growing divorce rate, Prof Chowdhury said, “In many cases, no one comes forward to mediate when differences and conflicts surface between the partners in the nuclear family.”
Dr Moshiur Rahman, a professor of Dhaka University’s Sociology Department, blamed rapid changes in society for the growing incidents of divorce, saying that most people cannot adjust with the rapid changes, including breaking up of joint families, growing individualism, increasing education and self-reliance of women and easy communication system.
He said a combine approach of moral teaching and knowledge-based education should be given in both family and educational institutions to prevent extramarital relationships and change the attitude towards women.