Extramarital relationships are main reason for divorce
The rate of both marriage and divorce has increased in the country, according to a survey of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).
The survey also said the main reason of divorce is extra-marital relations and inability to maintain married life.
The findings of the survey titled 'Bangladesh Sample Vital Statistics-2022' were released on 31 January. Over 300,000 households were taken as samples for the survey.
BBS Sample Vital Registration System (SVRS) in Digital Platform project director Alamgir Hossain, speaking to Prothom Alo, said, "We would collect information of causes of divorce through SVRS survey in the past but that would not have been disclosed. For the first time, the information of the survey is published."
The rate of general marriage has increased a bit over 25 in 2022. The marriage among every 1000 people with 15 years or above in a specific year is called the rate of general marriage. This rate was 18.5 in 2021.
The trend of general marriage rate has been included in the survey report since 2006.
A study was conducted and it was found that this had a link with coronavirus. Marriages were not encouraged due to the economic crisis and uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic. The number of marriages increased in 2022 as the coronavirus pandemic was over.
According to the survey, the rate of general marriage has increased to a great extent in a gap of one year. The rate was between 17 and 21 in the preceding years.
Sociologists see uncertainty and economic crisis during the coronavirus pandemic behind the rise of rate of common marriage in 2022.
There is no difference between men and women in the rate of general marriage. However, the difference is found regarding religion. The rate is higher in Muslims-26. But the rate is a bit above 18 among the Hindu community. The rate of general marriage is about 15 among communities of other religions.
In what age women and men got married first, their average age has been mentioned in the survey. BBS said the average age of men was 24 years while the average age of women was 18.4 years. The average age of men and women is a bit higher in the urban areas while a bit lower in the rural areas.
There are two types of divorce in the BBS survey. One rate is gross that means the rate of divorce in ratio of population. Another is the rate of common divorce, the people of 15 years or above are taken into estimation.
BBS said they have conducted the survey by extensive interview of divorced people. So the root cause of divorce has been found through this survey.
According to BBS, the gross rate of divorce is fluctuating between 0.6 and 1.1 between 2006 and 2021. That increases to 1.4 in 2022.
The rate of general divorce of men and women has been calculated separately.
It is seen that the rate of general divorce among women was a bit below 2 in 2021. That increases to 3.6 in the following year. Simultaneously, the rate of divorce among men is a bit above 2. That increases to 3.8 in the following year.
The highest rate of divorce took place due to extra marital relations in Dhaka while the lowest is in Mymensingh. The highest number of divorce due to inability to maintain married life is in Barishal while the lowest is in Sylhet. The highest number of divorce due to incapacity to support family is in Rajshahi while the lowest is in Chattogram.
Causes of divorce
The big reason of divorce is extramarital relations. In the survey, of the respondents, 23 per cent cited this reason. The next is 22 per cent--incapacity in maintaining conjugal life.
Other reasons of divorce include incapacity or refusal to maintain family, family pressure, physical torture and sexual incapacity.
The highest rate of divorce took place due to extra marital relations in Dhaka while the lowest is in Mymensingh. The highest number of divorce due to incapacity to maintain conjugal life is in Barishal while the lowest is in Sylhet. The highest number of divorce due to incapacity to support family is in Rajshahi while the lowest is in Chattogram.
The divorce is higher due to family pressure in Mymensingh, the lower in Dhaka. The divorce also takes place in large number due to torture in Mymensingh while the number is lower in Rajshahi. The divorce takes place in greater numbers due to sexual incapacity in Rangpur, but the rate is zero in Barishal. The incidents of divorce are taking place in large numbers due to staying abroad for long in Sylhet.
According to BBS report, the rate of divorce among the Muslims is similar to the national rate. But in the case of the Hindu community, the pucture of being separated is different. The major reasons for separation in this community is inability to maintain marriage and physical abuse.
Less than 10 per cent of Muslims mentioned physical torture as reason of divorce. This rate is about 20 per cent among the Muslims.
Supreme Court former justice Krishna Debnath thinks the rate of torture among the Hindu women is higher. It has a connection with dowry. As the Hindu women don't get property of their fathers, there is a pressure on them to bring dowry.
He also said the Hindu community legally has no scope of divorce. Despite that, many are separated. Awareness among the Hindu women not to endure torture silently is increasing.
Connection with pandemic
Outside BBS statistics, two Dhaka city corporations said women file for divorce in large numbers. In 2022, a total of 7,698 divorces took place in Dhaka South City Corporation. Wives filed a total of 5383 applications, which is 70 per cent of total applications. The situation in Dhaka north is almost the same. 65 per cent women filed applications.
Sociologist and Bangladesh Open University pro-vice chancellor Mahbuba Nasrin, speaking to Prothom Alo, said many are not happy in their conjugal life. Considering the social circumstances, they simply accept it and continue family life. However, many people are making decisions giving priority to happiness in conjugal life.
When asked about why marriage increased all of a sudden in 2022, she said they have conducted a study and found that it had a link with the coronavirus. Marriages were not encouraged due to the economic crisis and uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic. The number of marriages increased in 2022 as the coronavirus pandemic was over.
Mahbubua Nasrin said child marriage has increased due to various socio-economic reasons.
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print and online editions, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam