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If You Think Divorced Women Can’t Be Happy, You Are Part Of The Problem

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Social media is abuzz with the aftermath of Aurat March held on International Women’s Day this Friday. Some placards were termed provocative and a debate has begun on the same. The participants and organisers are of the opinion that there is a need for using such slogans as a means of starting the conversation about women rights issues that are stigmatised.

A photo of activist Nighat Dad, her sister Sahar Dad and journalist Sabahat Zakariya holding a placard that read ‘divorced and happy’ ended up provoking a number of people who said divorce should not be glamorised.

Responding to a tweet criticising the placard, Nighat Dad shared the circumstances surrounding her divorce.

Sabat Zakariya said that the idea behind the placard was to challenge the stereotypes associated with divorced women.

More women on Twitter who went through a similar situation joined the conversation and shared their experiences.

Author Shazaf Fatima said ending her marriage was not an easy decision, but she discovered herself after the divorce.

Women in the patriarchal society of Pakistan are expected to ‘compromise’ in order to save their marriage, but the men are absolved of all responsibilities. Portrayal of women in the local dramas strengthens the same notion. Women who try to quit a toxic or abusive relationship are portrayed as evil.

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Talking to Naya Daur, author Shazaf Fatima said the Pakistani society likes to see women suffering. “If you are divorced, they’ll make you feel as if it is the end of the world for you.”

She opined that the placard has angered many because it challenges the patriarchal notion that a woman who refuses to compromise can’t be happy. “If this narrative is challenged, it might stop more women from being embodied into it. This would ultimately harm the patriarchy so they are insecure”, she said.

Shazaf added that sometimes women don’t have the option to get a divorce because of financial instability or if their families are hostile towards the idea of divorce. “But those women who willingly protect status quo even if they have the option to end a toxic relationship are agents of patriarchy”, she said.

Sharing her experience, she said she tried her best to make her marriage work, but one can’t do it singlehandedly. “Women are told that if they keep sacrificing, their abusive husbands would one day start behaving nice. Marriages don’t work that way,” she said, adding that people are uncomfortable because the placard is too rebellious for them to handle.

That the Aurat March managed to generate this much-needed debate means the purpose has largely been served.

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1 Comment

  1. Sarah Ahmad March 15, 2019

    I think these courageous women don’t need to justify to anyone why they got divorced. They don’t owe an explanation to these jahil people for exercising their rights.

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