Bayan married a Lebanese cleric, verbally agreeing to the terms regarding her dowry and way of life. Says Bayan: "He is a man of religion, who knows the Lord, and knows the rights of women... He certainly does, as he lectures Muslims about this daily in the mosque."
All Bayan asked for was "protection". In the world of asylum, "a Syrian woman's only dream would be receive the protection [of a man's presence in her life]." It was enough for the cleric to ensure the presence of two witnesses, as well as another man of religion to officiate the marriage; then living with her for eight months and, eventually, leaving her.
Bayan found herself with her child on the street. She struggled to recover some of their rights; but has nothing but the verbal conditions as proof of being a wife—insufficient proof to Lebanese courts. These verbal conditions that were given, did not find their way into sponsor institutions.
Says Syrian writer and activist Khawla Dunia: "Custom marriages [without written contracts] are not a new situation in Syrian society. They have existed for a variety of reasons—including religious, or social, or doctrine differences; or the inability to marry in special situations. But the war, its attendant chaos and the collapse of institutions in many areas; as well as the illegal presence [of Syrians] in other countries, or financial need; this type of marriage has become an endemic problem, reflecting the state of poverty and physical and sexual exploitation, particularly for women."
Life today is hard for all Syrians—but more so for Syrian women; existence is harsh on all Syrians—but more so for Syrian women. They are Syrian women, alone; oppressed by need; facing the cruelties of life; and suspended under a great title [marriage] that has the sole intention of consuming their flesh.
Bil Mizan—the joint program between Radio Rozana, and Ma'akum [With You] channel of Radio Netherlands Worldwide; in cooperation with the Syrian Center for Justice and Accountability, hosts Syrian writer and activist Khawla Dunia, to talk about the plight of Syrian women and marriage.
To listen to the entire episode, please follow the link: http://rozana.fm/ar/node/13216.
* Published under the partnership agreement between the Radio Rozana, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, and the Syrian Center for Justice and Accountability.