by Suad Hamada
- Bahrain -
Fadhila is only allowed to go to the toilet after asking permission from her husband, she also puts up with his frequent demands for sex - even when she’s menstruating – but neither is a valid enough reason to be granted divorce by Bahrain’s Shariah Court. So Fadhila’s only option is to seek Khula, or divorce without reason, from the judge. She may be granted her freedom, but there is always a price. Women who are awarded Khula are required to either financially compensate their husbands or give away their marriage settlements, including custody rights to their children. “There is no way out,” 23-year-old Fadhila tells me. “I have to end this marriage that took five years of my life, even [if it means] paying double the dowry.”
Fadhila’s case against her teen sweetheart was dismissed in court because according to the judge, meeting the sexual demands of her husband is a religious obligation. The judge also wasn’t convinced of his controlling nature. Her husband testified his jealousy kept him from giving Fadhila more freedom. His brothers, he explained, live with them at the family house and he just isn’t comfortable letting Fadhila use the toilet when they are around.