Will Young Men’s Reluctance to Marriage Push Young Women in Syria to Commit Suicide?

Will Young Men’s Reluctance to Marriage Push Young Women in Syria to Commit Suicide?

News | 25 05 2020

A young woman from al-Khalidiya neighborhood in Aleppo city committed suicide by hanging herself for reasons related to the deteriorating living conditions in Syria as a result of poverty and the decline of the Syrian Pound, making it the second suicide case in the city recorded in 24 hours.

Local radio station Al Madina FM reported a source from the Forensic Medicine in Aleppo as saying: "The 19-year-old young woman committed suicide by hanging. The examination of the body revealed marks of her nails as a result of a nervous condition she had suffered earlier."

The radio station mentioned that the girl had suffered from a frequent psychological and nervous breakdown as a result of her difficult living conditions due to the poverty of her family, and because she was abandoned by her fiancé.

Spinsterhood reached unprecedented levels

Al-Baath newspaper stated in May that the level of spinsterhood in Syria has reached unprecedented levels, as a result of the deteriorating economic and political situation in recent years.

The newspaper further explained that the percentage of spinsterhood in Syria amounted to 70 percent, stressing that the number of young men is relatively small compared to females.

Calls for reserve and compulsory military services prompted hundreds of thousands of young Syrian men to flee either outside the country or to areas not controlled by the Syrian regime. In contrast, other young men resorted to hiding and staying in their homes for fear of getting arrested or dragged to the military service, in addition to other young men who have been already committed to reserve or compulsory military service for many years.

Al-Baath pointed out that obtaining a house at this time has become a far-fetched dream for couples. In addition, the marriage’s financial requirements, which are difficult to secure by the majority of young people, including those who are financially stable, have led to a rise in spinsterhood in Syria.

According to a report published last year by the Pew Research Center, 13 million Syrians had been displaced since the start of the conflict nearly seven years ago, accounting for about 60 percent of the pre-war population, an unprecedented figure in recent decades.

The Center added in a study it published online that more than 6,300,000 Syrians, standing for 49 percent of the total number of displaced people, had been internally displaced. However, this number has changed in recent years as hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people returned home while new ones emerged. The center also mentioned that around 700,000 Syrians were internally displaced in the first half of 2017 due to the ongoing conflict.

 Reasons for young men’s reluctance to marriage

Social researcher Kebriya al-Sa'our explained to Rozana that young men have become reluctant to marriage due to "war, displacement and the absence of all forms of stability, which are among the most important reasons," as she put it.

"The economic factor has a great significance, and high unemployment rates have a role in young men’s reluctance to marriage. Even in countries of refuge, the young Syrian people suffer from unemployment and lack of stability," added the researcher.
She explained that "the lack of stability can lead to the reluctance of young people to get married, in addition to the rise of dowries, as many Syrian families have maintained customs and traditions by demanding high dowries, which is a difficult task for a young man nowadays".
According to a UN report on Syrian human needs in March 2019, the percentage of Syrians living below the poverty line is 83 percent while 33 percent of the population are suffering from food-insecurity.
The UN report estimated that 11.7 million Syrians need some form of humanitarian assistance such as food, water, shelter, health and education. The data showed that the largest numbers of needy people live in Aleppo, Damascus and Idlib, while one million Syrian people who need of assistance live in places difficult to reach.
Journalist Malek al-Hafidh talked Rozana about the reluctance of Syrian youth to marry:" Personally, I do not think that engagement will enable a young man to overcome the basic difficulties that Syrians are facing. Rather, it will impede their self-fulfillment especially under the circumstances of this period of social and humanitarian transition that Syrian people are undergoing right now…  I believe it is better for Syrians to stay single.”
Majed Khaled, an unmarried man in his forties, told Rozana: "So far he has not met the girl who has the right characteristics he is looking for, such as being well-educated and open-minded."
He adds that "the Syrian crisis affected  his decision to marry as it led to the interruption of all the relationships he had been having in Syria for years, and therefore he lost hope regarding a marriage with some young women he used to consider as suitable for him.”
The economic crisis in Syria has imposed itself on young men and women who want to get married. There are families who preferred not to impose a large dowry, taking into consideration the youth's economic conditions, while other families insist on imposing it and count it in dollars.
In other cases, the difference was not limited to families, for even girls who wanted to get married insisted on the dowry and marriage customs, while others rejected it, seeing it as a problem that turns the woman into a consumable object, and stressing their faith in their choice and their partner.


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