munaThe ministry of justice recently issued a study on the rates and causes of divorce in Kuwait, and the results were shocking. Fifty percent of Kuwaitis are divorced! This ratio is very high. Kuwaitis form a small community with no one under the poverty line, wasting time traveling and being comfortable with a little knowledge of science and learning. The stats are interesting as well as the causes that lead to divorce, and of course the expected impact on children and the destruction of their future, which is the key topic of this article today.

Carefully examining the numbers, one finds an oddity in terms of age groups as well as the reasons for divorce. In the age group between 15-19 years, the proportion of female divorcees is 11.2 percent versus 1.6 percent for males. In my opinion, these children were thrown by their parents in the clutches of marriage. What kinds of parents push their children to marry at this age?! I feel angered to know that we still have ignorant people like these, who deserve to be punished. I wonder if we have a law to prosecute such parents.

In the 25-29 age group, the divorce rate among males is 27.5 percent versus 21.9 percent for females. This ratio is normal, because young people often are not prepared for marriage and its responsibilities, but most families put pressure on their sons and daughters to get hitched, which leads to such endings. For boys, they have to marry before the age of 30, and girls even earlier to avoid being labeled as spinsters. This age group is the usual age of marriage for young people here. But perhaps these youths are not psychologically ready for marriage, which is more important than physical readiness. But the society does not care, so the consequences are expected.

It is unfortunate that despite the apparent modernity and urbanization in the Kuwaiti society, the ways and methods of marriages are still mostly outdated and unjust under the pretext of customs and traditions and that do not allow youths to decide and choose their spouses. Most marriages between families are to maintain wealth, funds and assets along with social appearances, which are proven to be a failure.

The ironic thing in this study is the age group above 45 years, as the proportion of divorced males is 16.3 percent versus 8.5 percent for divorced women. This is strange, because men who seek divorce at this age have spent many years being married. This is inevitably hard on the children who are often adolescents and young people.

As a Kuwaiti, I do not worry about divorced men and women, but am more concerned about the future of their children. Not every mother or father is keen on the interests, safety and security of their children after divorce, and therefore the children will suffer all kinds of humiliation, starting at the hands of the maids. Note that raising a child is not the role or responsibility of a maid – children will always need parental counseling, guidance and a lot of love and caring.

This social reality is very worrying for the future, especially in a freer world where children are paying the price of ignorance that leads to failed marriages.

By Muna Al-Fuzai
muna@kuwaittimes.net