By Faten Omar

KUWAIT: Several women have complained about the long process of divorce in Kuwait. Divorce cases have risen in recent years, according to the Central Statistical Bureau. It revealed the period from 2017 to 2021 witnessed the highest increase, with 8,041 cases only in the last year. Lawyer Ahmed Al-Turki said the numbers remain variable and some cases take more than a year, explaining the woman is the only victim in such cases, and she bears great responsibility in many cases for her marriage without her rights being guaranteed.

"Even her rights as a citizen are not allowed to her compared to what is allowed to male citizens. There are some divorced women who think that if her name is on the housing application or she has custody of the children, she will be the owner of the house in the future, but this is false information. She only has the right to housing because she has the custody of the kids. If the custody period ends, she is not entitled to live or own the house," he told Kuwait Times.

Statistics show the highest rate of divorce is among educated people who have a university degree, where cases reached more than 1,834. Psychologist Hind Al-Amiri told Kuwait Times the more educated the person is, the more they are demanding of their rights. "Many divorce cases are due to cheating, social media platforms and soap operas that often encourage it," she said.

"There is a lot of violence inside homes. Many women and children are abused in Kuwait and eventually the wife will ask for divorce to get rid of the husband," Amiri pointed out, stressing that the woman remains the person who loses the most in such cases. Even society blames her, which puts her under great pressure, as she is forced to endure circumstances beyond her capacity.

Social media's effect

Last June, the Center for Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Studies in cooperation with Kuwait University conducted a field study to survey the opinion of Kuwaiti citizens on the phenomenon of divorce. The study showed that 15 percent of the sample believe social media is the leading cause for divorce. The study showed social media is first in the causes for divorce, followed by weakness of faith, parental interference, lack of responsibility, financial problems, cheating and lack of trust between spouses, uncomfortable residence, beatings and violence, personal status law and sexual problems.

The study, conducted by Professor of Political Science Dr Faisal Bouslaib, included 887 male and female citizens. It recommended treatment for social media addiction for spouses, strengthening their faith in religion, not allowing anyone to interfere in their married life, mandatory training programs to prepare each of them for marital life, raising responsible children, providing adequate housing for citizens in the shortest possible period, increasing government support, providing family counseling clinics, forming a committee to look into the personal status law and organizing sexual education.

Central Statistical Bureau statistics showed the crude divorce rate was 8.9 percent, while the general divorce rate was 13.7 percent for Kuwaiti men in 2021. The crude divorce rate was 1.0 percent and general divorce rate was 1.1 percent for non-Kuwaiti men in 2021. The year 2020 is considered the lowest in the number of divorce cases during the period of 2017-2021, with 4,661 cases for Kuwaiti men and 4,294 for Kuwaiti women.

August 2021 was the month with the most divorce cases, with 623 cases for Kuwaiti men and 184 cases for non-Kuwaiti men. According to the age groups of Kuwaiti men, the highest number of divorce cases was recorded in the age group of 45+, reaching 1,528 cases, and the lowest was in the age group of 15-19 with 6 cases in 2021.

According to the age groups of Kuwaiti women, the highest number of divorce cases was recorded in the age group of 25-29, reaching 1,409 cases, and the lowest was in the age group of 15-19 with 76 cases in 2021. According to educational levels, the highest number of divorce cases was at the university level for both Kuwaiti men (1,834 cases) and Kuwaiti women (2,354 cases) in 2021.