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Traditional dowry system is increasing the divorce rate in nepal

Her eyes well up with tears. But she divorced her husband just four years ago because she had been hoping he would have a change of heart and ask her to come home. Adhikari says that she fell in love with her ex-husband, Hari Thapa, in the seventh grade.

End the dowry system

They walked to and from school together every day. I would have been happy. The eldest in his family, he felt pressured to get married because his mother was frequently falling sick and the family needed someone to do the household chores. She belonged to the Brahmin caste, the highest in the caste system, and Thapa belonged to the Chettri caste, a second-class caste in the hierarchy of the four-class tier. Also, she was only 16, two years below the legal marrying age. Though reluctant at first, Adhikari agreed and eloped with Thapa in the tourist town of Pokhara.

But Thapa consoled her and tried to make her happy. She says this changed five years later, though, in 1997 after the couple had their son. Thapa started to spend nights outside the house, and when Adhikari inquired why, he shouted at her and sometimes even physically abused her.

When her son was nine months old, her husband brought home a woman and asked his mother to invite her into the house, a tradition performed after marriage in which the mother-in-law officially invites the bride into the house. She told him that she would leave the house, and he told her do whatever she wanted.

But she had nowhere to go. She says that was when she decided to commit suicide. They told her that she should live for her son. She says that her husband never visited her or their son or inquired about their well-being. Her son was 5 years old then. After moving to the capital, Adhikari rented a room and started selling fruit on the roadside. She used the income from her business to pay rent and buy groceries. Her son attended the local public school. Using her income and savings, she says she has been able to educate her son up to the seventh grade.

Looking for more prospects and profits, sometimes Adhikari ventures into the neighboring areas to sell fruit. Legally, her husband is responsible for providing financial support for their son. Instead, she asks her parents when she is in dire need. With more awareness of legal rights and less attention paid to social stigma, a rising number of women are filing for traditional dowry system is increasing the divorce rate in nepal in Nepal. Women cite various reasons for ending their marriages, from adultery to abuse.

  1. The whole system of family laws which govern marriage, divorce, property right inheritance reinforces the patriarchal and severely limits women command over economic resources. Generally, dowry includes the cash payment, jewels of diamond, gold or silver, electrical appliances, furniture items, bedding, chair, table, land, utensils and other household products which help the newly married couple to set up her home.
  2. She has a distant expression on her face which is writ large with the fatigue from her excruciating trauma. To analyze situation of the women assess the existing dowry related violence in Terai Region of Nepal.
  3. As long as there discrimination exists on the basis of gender, this evil practice can never be eliminated.
  4. The present study will limited to the following area. There are 75 districts, 14 zone and 3 regions in Nepal.

Although divorce law used to discriminate against women, the legal filing process is now easier for women than men. But socially, the divorce process is wrought with challenges for women, as society tends to blame them for failed marriages.

Divorce became legal in Nepal in 1963 under the Country Code, says Meera Dhungana, a lawyer for Forum for Women, Law and Development, a nongovernmental human rights organization.

But available court data illustrates a rapid increase in divorces over the last several years. But Bharat Lamsal, undersectary of the Kathmandu District Court, says that the number of divorces has increased in the capital. From 2010 to 2011, there were 1,317 cases filed. Out of the 1,317 cases, verdicts have been reached in 75 percent of the cases, while 25 percent have yet to be finalized.

He attributes the rise to the developments in access to education in the country, which has led to more public awareness about rights. Dhungana of the Forum for Women Law and Development says the number of women seeking divorces has especially surged. She says that the law has empowered them to exercise this right.

According to Lamsal, the original law in 1963 legalized divorce if spouses resided at separate locations for a period of at least three years, if one spouse engaged in a conspiracy against the life of the other or committed a crime of serious physical assault against the other, and if a spouse engaged in extramarital sexual affairs or eloped with another person.

The updated law also gave women the right to property after divorce. In 2006, the Supreme Court struck down a law allowing men to divorce women on the grounds of infertility. The Gender Equality Act of 2006 also addresses discriminatory laws governing divorce.

The Civil Code Bill, introduced in 2011, would make marital rape legal grounds for divorce. Dhungana says that sometimes men in Nepal woo women and other times pressure them to elope and get married. She says this type of control frequently continues in the marriage. This forces some women to seek for a divorce. Others torture their wives, creating another reason to file for divorce.

In Nepal, polygamy is illegal. But Adhikari says she did not file a polygamy complaint against her ex-husband. Dhungana says that if there were shelters for men to receive counseling on such behaviors, the divorce rate could go down. But in Nepal, there is a lack of organizations that specifically give counseling on these issues. Some nongovernmental organizations and law firms try to counsel couples to make divorce the last option.

  1. We have seen religion, culture and society and political mirrors all these reality. Therefore, in many pivotal south Asia countries daughters are taken as liabilities and burden where sons are considered as social assets.
  2. Drawing violence against women out of the private domain in to public attention and the area of state accountability has been a formidable task.
  3. But Thapa consoled her and tried to make her happy. Reflecting on the divorce cases their impact on children, Belbase says that every child has a right to be together with both of their parents.

Rupa Gautam, a 41-year-old woman from Lalitpur district, filed for a divorce from her husband, Bhupendra Gautam, a year ago. They had been married for 19 years and have three daughters, ages 6, 9 and 13.

Gautam says that her husband came home drunk regularly and tormented her for not giving birth to a son. Unable to bear the physical and psychological abuse her husband put her through, Gautam consulted her maternal family and decided to file for divorce along with financial compensation.

She currently works in a private office as an office assistant to support her daughters. Her estranged husband is already married to another woman, before their divorce is even complete. If a person remarries before he or she is divorced, he or she is liable for one to three years in prison and a fine of 5,000 rupees to 25,000 rupees, according to Nepali law. Tiwari says cultural norms still many times outweigh the law.

Belbase says this is because of the different procedures men and women need to follow to file for divorce. Despite what the law says, many acknowledge that society looks down upon divorce and in most cases blames the women for failed marriages, citing reasons such as her inability to handle her husband or a problem she must have.

Reflecting on the divorce cases their impact on children, Belbase says that every child has a right to be together with both of their parents. But many children are denied this privilege after their parents divorce. I wish my mother and father lived together.