Women seek legal route to assert personal rights

Updated 22 November 2015
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Women seek legal route to assert personal rights

JEDDAH: There has been a rise in the country’s courts hearing personal rights cases involving women, including divorce, alimony, visitation rights and custody of children, according to experts.
They are also likely to be involved in cases of khula, where guardians or parents refuse marriage offers from suitors, and adultery, the experts were quoted as saying in a local publication recently.
Majed Garoub, a lawyer, said most lawsuits involving women revolve around personal status laws, mostly divorce. Women are also involved in business-related cases as owners of firms, he said.
“Recently we have seen, unfortunately, cases of sexual harassment added to the list as women are increasingly finding jobs or are involved in various business sectors,” he said.
Garoub said the media should do more to educate women about their rights. Awareness campaigns were also the duty of civil society organizations specializing in issues involving women and the family, he said.
Abdulaziz Al-Shabrami, a lawyer and former judge, said women now outnumber men in almost every sector of the economy. “Therefore, it is only natural that there would be more lawsuits involving women than men,” he said.
“The most important lawsuits linked to women are personal status cases such as marriage, divorce, visitation rights, alimony and others,” he added.
The lawyer said that the media has played a positive role in creating awareness about women and their rights, and how they can seek redress for their grievances through the country’s courts.
Mazen Al-Oufi, a lawyer, said litigation is a way to guarantee that women’s rights are protected under Islamic law, “without bias or discrimination. Women can exert this right and demand redress by choosing the legal representative of her choice.”
“Our legal system gives women an extra edge over men in the litigation process in terms of alimony, custody and visitation rights, by allowing her to file the lawsuit from her place of residence if the defendant lives in another location.”
Khulod Al-Rawashdeh, a lawyer, said most cases involving women are linked to child custody, khula, alimony, adultery and other family issues.
“Recently, courts have been considering new lawsuits brought by women against their husbands who take their salaries.”
She said that some men allow their wives to work on condition they hand over their entire salaries or pay all household expenses, including for drivers and maids. This results in women filing for divorce, she said.
She said there has been a 30 percent rise in lawsuits filed by women.
“This is probably because women are now more aware of their legal rights. However, about 79 percent of women go to courts at a very late stage because they are ignorant of their rights,” she said.
Lolwah Al-Buraikan, assistant professor at Princess Nora bint Abdulrahman University, said women are mostly involved in divorce cases.
She said many working women do not have time to try to heal failing relationships through discussions.
In addition, women who are housewives seek divorce because they know they can get certain social security benefits from the government.
Others want to get out of their marriages because their husbands may be considering marrying a second wife. Al-Buraikan said there is no longer a great stigma attached to divorce in this country.
However, more people are getting divorced because of the abuse of social media.
Many men are now addicted to having relationships online, resulting in women feeling neglected and insulted, she said.


‘I’ve been waiting to get to Saudi Arabia for years’: Akon tells Asharqiah crowd

Updated 23 March 2019
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‘I’ve been waiting to get to Saudi Arabia for years’: Akon tells Asharqiah crowd

  • “First thing tomorrow morning, I’m headed to Makkah to perform Umrah” Akon said 
  • He entertained the crowd with some of his most popular hits at the Asharqiah Music Festival

DAMMAM: American rapper Akon captivated a packed crowd at the Asharqiah Music Festival on Friday, opening up the second night of musical festivities at Sharqiah Season with a special shout-out to Saudi Arabia.

“You have no idea, I’ve been waiting to get to Saudi for years, man,” Akon said, before launching into his song, “Gunshot.” Later, he told the crowd: “I’m seeing a tremendous change in Saudi Arabia here tonight."

At 8 p.m., under a bright moon on a beautifully cool night, Akon began his set, delighting fans who had spent over 10 minutes chanting his name in anticipation of his arrival.

He entertained the crowd with some of his most popular hits, including “Smack That,” “Mr. Lonely” and “Sorry: Blame It On Me.” And he wrapped things up with “I love you, Saudi... thank you for making me feel at home."

Backstage before the concert, Akon told Arab News how excited he was to be in Saudi Arabia for the first time. He was especially excited to visit one Saudi city in particular.

“First thing tomorrow morning, I’m headed to Makkah to perform Umrah.”