Arranged Marriage: What does love have to do with it?

A recent article in The New York Times highlighted the new wave of suicides taking place. While men seem satisfied with their part of the marriage, the women are saddened by their life sentence of marriage. While the blame is being placed on a new show coming from Turkey, clearly there is more to it than that. Young girls are taking their lives, and their doing it with guns. One girl shot herself in the abdomen with her brothers gun, in a serious suicide attempt. She tried to lie to her father about knowing if the gun was loaded, but he knew the truth. Now he promises he will not force her to go back to her husband, but hopes she will.

It may seem less than shocking to some people used to this culture , but even a sociologist will explain this is extreme behavior for women to be using guns to kill themselves. Many women normally use pills as a method of suicide, since they would rather be left with their beauty, even in death, so when the guns come out, something has gone terribly wrong. It is the aged and worn out condition of arranged marriage that is to blame and being forced to marry within your own family, and never know love.

While statistics show that love marriages have a lower success rate, they also show human nature. The passion and desire supersedes the fear of ending in a crushing divorce. While rates are much lower for arranged marriages, this can no way be heralded as a success, since many of the women would be left with children to care for, possible alone, or worse be killed by their families for bringing shame to them. So the low rate of divorce can not be calculated as success, but as living under an umbrella of fear.

Now many girls are choosing another escape, one that is permanent. Suicide has doubled in Iraq and while parents are busy blaming a television show, they are completely ignoring the stark truth, their children want to experience the freedom of choice, and dating. They want to be free to decide what happens to their future, and not just be forced to marry and have kids. For the men in the arranged marriage, they get a wife and access to sexual gratification, while the women only get to be used as wives and then mothers.

What seems to have not alarmed the parents, is how many of them are women, young women. Their ages as young as 16 years old. Barely even a life has begun and yet they feel it is over, as soon as they are forced into an arranged marriage. It is sickening to see youth wasted on the cause of nothing more than becoming a sexual toy for your husbands pleasure. After all nothing can replace the loss of youth and choice. For many of these girls, it was a death sentence, yet change is not likely to come soon.

Arranged marriages have been tradition for at least three thousand years. Since the time that property was given back and forth between men, and women were considered property. In many religions it continues to be the tradition. Women are given to the fathers brothers house as brides to their sons. This close nit family niche has not been productive for the gene pool, but continues to be practiced.

Now that the these girls have been exposed to the outside world, and they learn for the first time, that not every culture practices this behavior, more women are wishing to be free from this burden. Even though democracy has come to Iraq, there are some very undemocratic practices still happening. And it will continue, until people move beyond the barberry of forced marriages, archaic religions, and brutal handling of women. Which means more women will continue to die, and their deaths will be blamed on anything, but the reality, women want more than to birth babies, and stand in the shadows of their husbands as mere possessions.

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