Consequences of Seeking A Divorce

Seeking a divorce isn’t as simple as going separate ways and calling it a day.

Instead, it comes with a lot of consequences people have to weigh as they are making a decision about the next phase in their life whether it be small like paying the fee of their lawyer to even more severe, like wondering if they might be brutally murdered for bringing shame upon their family.

1) Legal Costs

It starts with legal costs.

Getting a divorce involves a legal process where a couple is going to see their finances analyzed along with the issue at hand. A judge is going to hear both sides before deciding on how the assets will be split along with the custody of children (if necessary).

A person has to weigh the costs and make sure they can afford these costs if a decision such as this is made. In some cases, a legal case can take far too long and add up in costs making the situation a difficult one to manage. Plus, a legal case also separates the couple so side deals can be made along the way.

2) Separation Anxiety

This is a consequence for those who might be used to the idea of having someone in their life.

A person might not want to leave a person even if they are ready to take a divorce and the situation is impossible to resolve. Separation anxiety tends to bother people, and they become afraid of the idea of getting a divorce. Society is built in a manner where people are supposed to be with someone as they get older.

If they go against this, it can make it difficult to manage other areas of life, and that can be harrowing to some even if it shouldn’t be.

3) Societal Declaration of Divorce

Society has a precise definition of what a divorce should mean.

A couple that goes against the notion of marriage and doesn’t resolve its issue get looked down upon. This can lead to people judging how a couple is and that is something people want to avoid.

4) Honor Killing

A divorce is something women are told is a mistake and something one should avoid at all costs even if the circumstances are dire.

This is a system where families want to place their honor above the person involved. Due to this logic, a person avoids going down this route as it dishonors the family name. If the divorce goes through, it’s assumed the family has been dishonored, and that can lead to situations where honor killings take place.

Women have to account for this in many nations around the world.

A divorce is a major decision for men or women, and it has become something with long-term consequences. It’s not as simple as separating from a person and calling it a day. Various consequences are attached to the notion of getting a divorce.

People take the time to weigh these consequences and assume they’re going to play a role in how things unfold after the divorce proceedings are complete.

The Concise History of Arranged Marriages

Throughout the civilized world, most cultures have adopted some form of the institution of marriage to protect bloodlines, set down some rules for family life as well as to ensure the propagation of the species.

The traditions surrounding these laws have been varied and complex, fearsome even. While many cultures considered the woman and man to be equal, this concept was not always practiced. Throughout medieval Europe, for example, men and women held very different roles and responsibilities to the family, and to the established religious system.

Arranged marriage was a common practice. These imposed unions were more often to seal deals between important families, consolidate wealth or other reasons beyond mutual attraction. There was not much choice for those involved, however, consequences for refusing to commit to an arranged marriage were scathing indeed.

In previous chapters of human history, the arranged marriage was a great way to ensure the strength and prestige of families. Furthermore, people didn’t get out as much as they do now, it was more probable that a father or mother could find a kind and caring spouse for their child who probably knew little more than farm life.

The consolidation of power and family social status was also dependent on the choice of spouse made by a son or daughter, and you can imagine how much the family would weigh in on these decisions. The desire for gain is another great benefit to a suitable match and dowries were expected from a bride hoping to climb the social echelons.

The practice faded from many cultures with the great improvement we have made in communications and social advances. Nevertheless, there are many cultures in existence throughout the world that still rely on the decisions of family elders for marriage decisions.

Even though there may have been some advantages to arranged marriages in the past, today they have been known to be seriously problematic. The absence of any mutual attraction in an arranged marriage can lead to all kinds of conflicts that will not be resolved in any mutually respectful way.

The greed of family elders can lead them to aggravate these issues with threats of violence and worse if children do not agree to a lucrative arrangement. As a rule, there is very little consideration for either spouse, but more typically the wife’s wishes in the arrangement. Many arranged marriages are actually conducted for girls as young as 13 and boys as young as 14.

Many of these same cultures have poor standards of equality between the man and the woman. It is common practice for everything the wife owns to be given to the husband including herself and children. Whether they planned on it or not, the decision to have children is out of the woman’s hands and they are under the full control of their husband. This often leads to many instances of physical abuse and non-consensual sexual relations.

As if the consequences of an arranged marriage were not bad enough, the consequences for refusing could be even worse. Men could face being disinherited in some cultures and disemboweled in others. Women were often subjected to family rejection, shame, beating and in many cases it would be the responsibility of the father or another family member to execute the rebellious young lady.

These “Honor Killings” or brutual accidents were performed to preserve the family honor and send a warning to other such individualists. The saddest part of all this is that many cultures still practice this archaic tradition.

Common Methods of Honor Killings

The term “honor killing” is something that seems contradictory. In general Western thought, killing someone is not considered an honorable act without compelling justification (e.g., killing a burglar in your house to protect yourself or your family from harm).

But all over the world, and in some prominent cultures, killing someone for the sake of a family’s honor is justifiable and almost encouraged by some codes of tradition, even if sometimes not explicitly codified in writing.

While an “honor killing” can be perpetrated against a man or a woman, the large majority of them in the world are perpetrated against women by male members of her own family. A woman (or man) who brings “dishonor” to her family is killed, even if the “dishonor” is only alleged and is not outside the norms of the surrounding culture. It is usually all about the religious and cultural norms of the family of origin and not about the culture in which that family lives.

It is difficult to get a number of how many murders or forced suicides are actual “honor killings” around the world, as many of them are unreported, or cannot be determined by facts of the cases. It is estimated, however, that thousands of women are killed in these “honor killings” at the hands of their male family members every year. In recent years, Muslim “honor killings” have been in the news, but the tradition is not limited only to Islam.

As “honor killings” are considered “crimes of passion” because they involve shame and anger, there are very rare cases of these killings taking place with a firearm. Some of the key methods of “honor killing” that have been recorded include stabbing, stoning, beheading, burning with acid, burning alive with fire, the cutting of the throat, and even cutting off of limbs.

In Western countries, many “honor killings” are done by stabbing, with the killings occurring for one of two main reasons  – a woman is considered “too Western” or “too promiscuous” (which can be considered in a form of dress or attitude and may not actually be true in a sexual sense). There is very little due process in these events; if any male of the family feels that woman has brought shame to the family because of how he feels, that can be justification for the killing.

And those emotions (shame and anger, primarily) are the reasons and motivations behind the methods of killing being so intimate and passionate that a firearm doesn’t seem to satiate the shame. Some of the methods are specifically mentioned in certain religious or cultural codes as the way to restore honor to the family.

A woman who is “too Western” can be killed if she has an affair, has sexual relations outside of a marriage, refuses as arranged marriage, asks for a divorce, or even does the “Western” thing of having independence and a desire to choose her own husband.

A woman who is “too promiscuous” can be a woman who does not dress in traditional religious or cultural garb meant to display modesty, or is seen out in public with a man who is not her husband, or has a boyfriend or significant other who is not of that family’s religion or culture (which is considered “inferior” to the family’s belief system).

It seems that there has been a trend in recent studies of known honor killings, in that the average age of those who are killed for being “too promiscuous” is about 17, and those who are “too Western” at age 36.

The Death of Shafiela Ahmed

A lot of people feel that honor killings happen “over there” in the Middle East or in other remote Asian countries. Back in 2003, on English soil, Shafilea Ahmed, a 17-year-old British Pakistani woman, was murdered by her parents.

It all started when Shafilea went to visit Pakistan in 2003. During her trip, she swallowed bleach in what was reported to be a suicide attempt. Her father, on the other hand, claimed that it wasn’t a suicide attempt that she mistakenly drank the bleach thinking it was water during a blackout. Her throat became very damaged and she was required frequent medical treatment. Meanwhile, the media reported that she turned down an arranged marriage during her trip to Pakistan.

She disappeared on September 11, 2003. After a week long manhunt, and noticing that Shafiela didn’t seek medical attention for her throat detectives started to believe that she was potentially murdered.

In February 2004 her body was found. The body was badly decomposed and the cause of death could not be determined.

A break in the case came in August of 2010. When the Ahmed family home was burglarized, Shafilea’s younger sister admitted to the police that her parents had murdered her sister. She then went on to explain the details of how her father and mother conspired and executed Shafilea.

On September 7, 2011, her parents were charged with murder. On August 3, 2012, they were both found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 25 years. Below is a documentary that details much of the case: