'Divorce is not the end of the road,' says new Egyptian initiative

Wednesday 10-02-2016 09:49 PM
'Divorce is not the end of the road,' says new Egyptian initiative

By Omnia Talal  

CAIRO, Feb 10 (Aswat Masriya) - In a country where a divorce happens every six minutes, a publishing house created an initiative to give divorced Egyptian women a chance at being happy by publishing their stories after divorce.  

Titled, "I am divorced and happy," the initiative launched by Layan publishing house last week aims to help divorced women fend off  society's often reactionary view  of divorcees, especially women. The initiative will collect the success stories of divorced women and publish them in a book.

"Divorce is not the end of the road. On the contrary, it could be the beginning and you can start over on your own or with someone else," the initiative's call on Facebook reads.

According to figures provided by the Egyptian Cabinet's Information and Decision Support Center in 2014, there are 240 divorces in Egypt every day.

The first woman to share her story with the initiative was Eman al-Amir, who was enthusiastic about the idea of a book telling real life stories about divorced women. 

Amir says she has faced hurdles when she become a divorcee, the most important of which was "society's rejection of the idea of divorce". Amir has Upper Egyptian roots, a part of the country that is typically more traditional than the rest of Egypt.

But this approach to divorce was so entrenched in Amir's cultrue that even she adopted it. She did not even allow herself to travel because of the divorce.

But with the help and support of her older brother, Amir broke free from many of the restraints and restrictions placed on her life. Her brother convinced her to travel abroad and Amir, who had long yearned to reignite her passion for writing, was soon booking one-way tickets and moving one from stop to the next on a journey of discovery.

Amir is now a PhD holder, which she previously thought was impossible, and is currently overseeing doctoral theses. She is also an information systems consultant in a company and has published three books. Her story in the initiative is titled "After Freedom".

The owner of Layan publishing house, Fathi al-Mazeen said he has met dozens of divorced women who have made successes after their divorce. "They did not cave in to conditions imposed by society, " he said, adding that such conditions can restrict women's options on deciding where to live and can even end their private lives.  

Mazeen said the initiative is battling society's injustice to women and is encouraging them to write to change the perception of divorced women.  

But Amir acknowledges that many women may not have the courage to write about their experiences, even though they have made achievements after their divorce.

There are also women who do not have the courage to seek a divorce, choosing to live in the prison of a marriage because they are too scared of the backlash. Amir does not encourage divorce but is calling on women to face their fears and confront society with its view of divorcees, adding that an unstable marriage can destroy a woman's life.

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