Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 21st 2014 Contents • Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2014
NEAL T RASMINE
More women are filing for
divorce in the Family Court because
of infidelity or domestic violence
by their spouses. "Is either horn or
beat up," said a marshall of the
The marshall (name given) said
most of the divorce petitions received
by the court were from women
claiming that the men have been
involved in extramarital affairs.
This increase in the divorce rate
was echoed by the Minister of Gen-
der, Youth and Child Development
Clifton De Coteau when he recently
quoted figures from the Ministry of
Legal Affairs which showed that for
the period 2011-2013, approximately
24,000 couples applied for marriage
licences, while over the same period,
7,123 couples filed for divorce.
Figures from the Family Court
showed that for the period 2009-
2010, there were 2,444 divorces
granted by the court. The following
year, from 2010-2011, there were
2,189 divorces granted.
Between 2009-2011---a two-year
period---the divorce figure was 4,633.
When compared to 2011-2013---
also a two-year period---there was
a significant jump in the divorce fig-
Figures on divorce among women
from the Central Statistical Office
(CSO) Web site were only available
up to 2008. It shows that the most
amount of divorces, 177, had
occurred among women with no
children over 50, while women in
the 30 to 34 age group, also with no
children, was next with 153. Men
over 50 recorded the most amount
of divorces with 179, followed by
men in the 40 to 44 age group with
Lawyer Martin George, who also
deals with divorce matters, con-
firmed that "more and more women
are coming into our office, about 12
to 13 per month and this is only in
our Trinidad branch."
George said women tend to "know
what they want and what they don t
want," but if they are uncertain "we
would advise against it."
He said at least half of the women
filing for divorce have no children
"and the marriages are usually less
than five years old...normally three
or five year, and five years is a long
time," he stressed.
Commenting on these latest fig-
ures, Prof Patricia Mohammed, head
of the Institute for Gender and
Development Studies at the Univer-
sity of the West Indies, St Augustine,
said while women may joke about
"a deputy essential" as part of the
island culture and calypso message
"they certainly don t buy into it".
Prof Mohammed said, "Women
of today, especially younger women,
are far more empowered to challenge
abuse of any kind, whether it is
physical abuse or mental abuse
caused by infidelity."
This is so, she said, because
"women now work outside of the
home and earn reasonably good
salaries, they are in a position to
confront the freedoms that men
assumed once was a right in mar-
riage. Women are no longer willing
to cast a blind eye to male infidelity
in marriage or in a serious relation-
ship for that matter."
Mohammed said while women
turned a blind eye or could not chal-
lenge infidelity and violence for a
long while, they are now more willing
to confront it.
"They are not willing to settle for
less than they feel they deserve."
The Family Court marshall said
men were prone to tell a lot of lies
to get rid of their wives by claiming
that the women were cheating.
Mohammed noted that name call-
ing or "derision about either the
women who petition or the men
who are being divorced will lead to
further misunderstandings in the
'Pride on both sides'
The court marshall said there was
also a certain amount of pride on
both sides that prevented couples
from solving the problems.
However, Prof Mohammed won-
dered whose pride was more in
question. "Are men willing to give
up certain freedoms? I am sure they
are not," she added.
"Why should anyone want to give
up the freedom to have your cake
and eat it too? The only way you do
this is if you understand the con-
sequences sufficiently, to your health
and to the welfare of those you love
According to Mohammed, "Per-
haps what is called pride is also our
incapacity as a people to confront
personal emotions honestly. Rather
than deal with things openly and
honestly, there is picong, double
entendre and elision---except for
racial slurring which is where the
directness seems to emerge most."
Societal problems, crime?
Does this increase in the divorce
rate lead to societal problems and
Prof Mohammed objected to the
suggestion that this high level of
divorce was leading to a societal
breakdown and crimes.
She said, "What this suggestion
poses is that women are yet again
to blame and that they should grin
and bear it, not challenge the status
quo, the beatings and the infidelity
as many generations of women did
to ensure that the family stays
Divorce on the rise in T&T
...More women taking the plunge, not buying into 'a deputy essential'
Continues on Page A31
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