Cultural differences often mess up mixed marriages in UAE
Dubai - It also leads to different kinds of issues including an increase in domestic violence.
Mixed marriages is one of the main reasons to be blamed for different kinds of abuses - physical, financial, verbal and emotional - faced by women in the UAE, said officials from the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC).
Ghanima Al Bahri, director of care and rehabilitation at the DFWAC, said that while the country gives the opportunity for people to marry outside their nationalities and religions, it also leads to different kinds of issues including an increase in domestic violence.
A total of 1,027 cases were handled by the centre in 2018 of which 85 needed shelter; 942 were external cases needing counselling, financial or legal help.
"Couples often face problems after they get married because of the difference in cultures and the lack of knowledge of the country's laws such as those required after marriage," said Ghanima while presenting annual statistics about the centre at a Press conference held on the sidelines the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development (DIHAD) conference on Thursday.
She said that in such marriages, when women became pregnant and become concerned about the status of their unborn child. "Sometimes husbands are not able to sponsor them leading to a number of other issues," said Ghanima.
While the number of reported cases for 2018 - that include domestic violence, child abuse, human trafficking and violence against women - remained more or less the same as the past years, Ghanima said that the community awareness had gone up.
"We used to receive around 200 cases before 2012 but after we set up a 24-hour hotline, the number of calls has gone upto 6,000 annually," she said, adding that it was an indication that people were more aware of the centre and its work.
According to the statistics, women faced the major brunt of violence in all its forms including physical, mental, emotional, verbal and financial abuse. However, 13 cases (two per cent) males also reported domestic violence.
"These men complained about emotional and verbal abuse by their spouses. Sometimes, women play the child card and stop men from meeting their children," said Ghanima.
The DFWCA resolved 87 per cent of the cases and 13 per cent have been postponed for 2019. The centre runs a number of rehabilitation programmes for women including training programmes that can give them financial independence. "Women are provided skills such as sewing, beautician courses and skills to set up small businesses," said Aisha Al Midfa, programme research officer at the centre. She also said that awareness campaigns were run in schools as well while a children's villa has also been set up recently.
"Women need to know that the shelter house is not permanent and that we only help them until their problems are resolved," said Ghanima. While most cases are resolved between three to six months, sometimes women stay at the shelter for up to two years.
The centre also collaborates with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to resettle children and women in Sweden and other countries.
"Already four children and a woman have been given nationalities after we collaborated with agency to find them a home with a background as similar as theirs," added Ghanima.
Most victims are sent back to their home countries with a follow up done for six months.
"Victims of violence should not feel scared or guilty and should approach us to get their problems resolved," she said.
The centre's hotline is 800111.