A coalition of women’s rights advocates is calling for changes to the country’s laws that would enable women to sue their husbands for divorce. Currently, South Sudan’s laws on divorce are heavily biased in favor of men, with women having little recourse to end a marriage that has become abusive or intolerable.
The advocates argue that allowing women to sue for divorce would help to address the widespread problem of domestic violence in South Sudan. According to a report by the United Nations, more than half of women in South Sudan have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence, and many are trapped in marriages that are harmful to their physical and mental health.
Under current laws, women can only seek divorce if they can prove that their husband has committed adultery, abandoned them for at least three years, or is unable to provide for their basic needs. These requirements are difficult to meet, and many women are unable to leave abusive marriages as a result.
The proposed changes to the law would allow women to seek divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, which would make it easier for them to end marriages that have become toxic or harmful. The changes would also make it easier for women to seek custody of their children and obtain financial support from their ex-husbands.
The advocates have called on the government to prioritize the rights of women in South Sudan and to take action to address the widespread problem of domestic violence. They argue that allowing women to sue for divorce would be an important step toward achieving gender equality and ending violence against women.
However, not everyone is supportive of the proposed changes. Some traditional leaders and religious groups have opposed the idea, arguing that it would undermine the institution of marriage and lead to a breakdown of social norms.
Despite the opposition, the advocates remain hopeful that the government will take action to address the issue. They point to the success of similar campaigns in other African countries, such as Ethiopia, where changes to the law have led to a significant reduction in the number of women who are trapped in abusive marriages.