LI activists say the continued focus in Saudi is on networks for women’s rights and secularism, and challenging state monopolies. They have recently taken to flash mobs of women illegally driving without male supervision.
Women call for personal status law protecting their rights
Saudi Gazette report
JEDDAH – Although there have been sincere efforts on the part of legal authorities to bring justice to women, these are not enough as many women feel they have been treated unjustly because the courts have not decided on the divorce, alimony, child custody, etc cases.
Many women, including businesswomen, have underscored the importance of having a comprehensive personal status law which grants women full justice and prevents them from being taken advantage of, reported Al-Madinah Arabic language newspaper on Saturday.
They recommended that alimony should be deducted automatically from a husbands’ monthly salary. They also called for imposing strict penalties on husbands who take advantage of them and their children.
Noora Abdullah, 40, told the newspaper she got married 20 years ago to a short-tempered and ill-mannered person.
He abused her throughout their marriage and even disrespected her in public. Nevertheless, she had three daughters with him. When the daughters grew older, her husband forced them to work for a school in order to provide for the family. When she got tired of his mistreatment, she went to the court and filed a lawsuit against him.
When he learned what she did, he threatened to take her daughters from her if she did not drop the case against him.
She eventually succumbed to his demands and decided to continue living with him.
Sarah Ali had to file a case against her husband to get a divorce because he had abused her and did not take care of his daughters. Although she paid him the SR30,000 dowry he had given her and returned all the gifts she had received from him, she did not get any alimony payments simply because he refused.
Every time she goes to the court and files a complaint, he follows the court’s orders for two months then stops paying her.
“Women like me need to be protected by a strong law which forces the husband to pay alimony and allows the court to deduct a certain amount from his monthly salary for alimony whether he likes it or not. Husbands should not shirk the responsibility of paying alimony.”
Hasna says she got married at a young age and had to live with her husband for 12 years for the sake of her children. Her husband constantly avoided the responsibility of providing for his children. When she threatened to file for divorce, he said he would demand she pay him back the dowry he had given her.
Dr. Salwa Al-Hazah, a member of the Health and Environment Committee at the Shoura Council, stressed the importance of having a personal status law to protect women’s rights.
She promised she and other female members in the Council will work hard to have such a law.