↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Foreign husbands, foreign wives —Rafia Zakaria

Finally, the power differential in expatriate marriages creates incredible potential for abuse. Lonely brides accompanying husbands to new countries following an often hurriedly arranged marriage have little or no support structure to turn to. In some cases, they may arrive in the new country to see their “ideal” husband devolve into a domineering beast with no one to check his behaviour. Others may find that husbands have previous relationships with women that they expect to maintain using their wives’ dependent immigration status as a basis of blackmail.

Indeed, scores of immigrant brides from all over the world are subjected to abuse on the basis of their immigration status. In the United States, special legal provisions have been created under the Violence Against Women Act where women (and men) facing abusive marriages to United States citizens are able to petition for permanent residence even if the marriage has ended. Provisions such as the ‘U’ visa ensure that women who have been the victim of crime in the United States (such as battery for domestic violence) can petition to be legalised even if their spouse was undocumented.

Given the burgeoning Pakistani communities across the globe, expatriate marriages are only likely to increase. Similarly, because foreign citizenship confers economic potential, it is likely to remain a denominator in considering the worth of a future match. As Pakistani society changes to reflect these realities, it is important to also consider the varying power dynamics, the altered social structures and the potential for abuse inherent in such marriages. Foreign husbands, foreign wives —Rafia Zakaria


Post a Comment

<< Home