After a great deal of patience and endurance, Sanaa finally decided to end her living nightmare with her husband by filing for divorce to save herself and get her life back, away from physical, psychological, or verbal abuse, and most importantly to save her young sons and raise them in a stable and healthy environment.
At the age of 20, Sanaa, who’s originally from Yemen, was -like many women- subjected to domestic violence, physical abuse, and humiliation at the hands of her husband, which prompted her to file for divorce in order to get out of this “miserable” and mentally and physically destructive situation.
The Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD), through its Legal Aid Unit, adopted the case of Sanaa (pseudonym) from the beginning, providing her with the necessary legal advice for her case, and then directly starting litigation procedures in the courts.
The number of cases filed by the legal aid unit against Sanaa’s husband, who lives in the capital Amman, reached four cases: Alimony, child support, discord and conflict, and child custody. Indeed, after five months, the wife obtained her full financial rights and won custody over her children, in accordance with the Jordanian Personal Status Law, which applies to every resident in the Kingdom.
Article 126 of the Status Law (2010) specifies cases that are considered discord and provide grounds for separation: “Either spouse may request separation for discord and conflict if they claim abuse suffered by the other party, which makes it impossible to continue married life, whether it’s direct abuse, such as physical or verbal abuse, or emotional abuse, and any disgraceful or immoral conduct or behavior that inflicts moral abuse on the other party, as well as the insistence of the other party on violating marital duties and rights, shall be considered moral abuse.”
Article 59 of the same law stipulates that “the alimony depends on each person’s means, except the wife, as her husband must pay her alimony even if she is wealthy.”
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Jordan hosts 13,727 Yemeni asylum seekers, as well as more than 700,000 refugees from other countries, mostly Syrians, but also Iraqis, Sudanese, and Somalis, while the Jordanian government, estimates that there are approximately 32,000 Yemenis residing in the Kingdom, according to the latest census in 2015.
As a result, it is important to maintain family cohesion, but when solutions run out, plight intensifies, and doors are closed to women, then separation becomes the most appropriate solution. Hence, it is also necessary to provide psychological, legal, and intellectual empowerment for women, to spread awareness of the importance of compatibility when choosing a partner, and the need to hold awareness and guidance sessions for those about to marry that include topics on marital rights and social issues, and also to pay attention to the fact that the responsibility to confront violence against women is shared between different sectors.
**These stories are part of the activities of the project “Investing in the Future: Improving the Livelihoods and Education of Minority Refugee Groups within Society in Jordan”, launched by ARDD in partnership with Vision Hope International, and with financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, in a step aimed at protecting and assisting Sudanese, Yemeni, and Somali refugees, as well as Jordanians in the most affected host communities, and raising their capacity, confidence, and knowledge by resorting to the competent authorities in case they face legal problems.