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The "family protection" bill will severely cause hardship for the families/ Talat Taghi-Nia

Translated by Karim Pourhamzavi

Wednesday 27 August 2008, by admin

"family protection" bill will destroy family life

Feminist school: The eighth Islamic parliament did not lose any time to approve the whole of "family protection bill" without any amendments or modification and paid no attention to the critics and some of seventh parliament members and the lawyers of woman rights and woman activists.

The "family protection bill" is designed to destroy the single-wife law and promote polygamy with a systematic plan of persuasion by using the media to its end. The proposed resolution by the government for the "family protection bill" (article 23) permits the man to take a second wife without the consent of the first wife. Hence the law allows polygamy with condition that the man is financially viable.

The Bill has received mass criticism and generated a lot of discussions by lawyers and activists from different sections and women’s equal right organization so much so that it has been picked up by political organizations and even some MP’s are against the Bill.

The introducers of this Bill believe the Bill will protect the family and will in fact will avert destruction, by introducing a second, third or fourth person in to the private family life how would this be possible? Studies and researches have shown that polygamy in fact is a cause for concern within the family and one concern is the increased violence towards the first wife.

This Bill is lawful and no one dares or has the right to be against it

Moosa Ghorbani member of the civil and judicial parliamentary commission confirmed the ratification of the Bill in the commission and stated according to Etemad daily newspaper that “The commission ratified the whole Bill in its first seating†his reply as to why the article 23 which has caused so much uproars was not omitted? “The bill is absolutely in conjunction with the religious law and all the uproars were caused by you, this resolution is legal and it will pass in the parliament tooâ€

Ayatollah Sanei has officially announced that “polygamy without the consent of the first wife is an illegitimate act and considered as a sin and from the point of view of religious law is a crime and if the first wife does not give her consent the marriage is not legally bindingâ€

The wealthy men can commit polygamy

Women as the lesser being in this equation have always had a pessimistic view towards rights that men have, this derives from the unlawfulness of the man in regards to polygamy. Now that polygamy is on the verge of becoming totally legal, women loose the minimum security which they had and hence the increase of suspicion towards their spouse which will inevitably bring about more argument and violence. Concern of a third person entering the family has always been a cause for concern in the Iranian families and as a result of this Bill and the fact that it will be the court that will decide on the financial viability and not the consent of the first wife this would enable the man to hid from his wife and family the number of wives he has, this systematic dishonesty encouraged by law will destroy the family life in Iran.

Honoring the payment of dowry from theory to practice

In the small cities and villages men have more predominance than women because in most cases either by not having a dowry or if a small amount of dowry has been agreed, the man can pay and if he wanted he could divorce the wife.

Where as the woman because of their financial insecurity are unable to divorce or even raise an objection to being divorced hence they have to leave their marriage life in submission and surrender to violence. Once again the question put to the establishment, by what kind of reasoning do they think all this will protect and make the family stronger?

Violence in the families with multiple wives

One can bring examples of violence from the government run newspapers that cover a main section on murders committed in the families which under lines the causes as lack of affection or benevolence which gradually is replaced by violence and then murder.

Until now Shahla Jahed the second wife of Naser Mohamadkhani who was accused of murdering the second wife which left the second wife’s son to fend for himself and lives only to take vengeance on Shahla. Shahla spends her days in fear of her life in prison which is a gradual death. The families and their children are in their way quarreling with polygamy.

The “Family protection Bill†is not fair

Bahman Keshavarz an attorney in the court of justice and the president of the attorneys Association, states on the justice of this Bill “justice has been defined as it is, naturally justice in a marriage as defined would entail a materialistic and moral equality dispensed from the husband between number of wives which is an impossibility. Hence when a person takes a second wife there is already an imbalance in the equality. Let’s not forget justice is not just about provision of material but also providing moral support†.

Warnings on Divorce

According to statistics: 60 thousand women get divorce yearly in Iran. Sayed Hosein Mousavi “Director of mental and moral impairment†announced that “The rate of divorce in comparison with marriage has increased by 12.1% from 10.7% from 2006†. But Mr Ahmad Gheshmi the registrar of Tehran announces that in Tehran marriage has reduced by 3% and divorce rate has increased by 9% in 2008.

If we consider family as the social structure then protecting the structure should be the main priority. The destruction of the structure is not something that the government can ignore or perhaps with all the warnings has made them incapable of hearing.

Lack of trust, Lack of security: increase in violence

Some men abuse the law and not only get a new wife but also use the law as the sword of Damocles which is a constant threat for more abuse of their wives. It is obvious that by taking a second wife will turn the love that tied the husband and the first wife in to animosity and spite and the relationship between them will inevitably turn in to argument and then in to violence and cheated out financially.

Events and research have shown us that a large section of family killings has been as a result of lack of sentiments which it takes its gradual process and ends up as murder.

Decrease in marriage shows the lack of trust in the institution of marriage and future is the negative effect of the law which also makes the children of the divorcees to escape from home. The government and the parliament in this situation should try to resolve the great social difficulties that we experience but instead they are trying to secure servants for men and ignore the dissatisfaction of the majority of the women against this Bill. How can a parliament continue its work without taking peoples concerns in to consideration? One of the main causes of divorce and separation in the country is the polygamy and with ratification of this Bill will increase the crisis in our society. Hence according to those in charge “the holey perpetuity of the family†will not only be protected but destroyed.

This article was first published in Persian here

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