Hundreds of people protest the murder of 26-year-old Jennyfar Maria Gomes. The autopsy confirms that her husband stabbed her eight times. In the past seven years, 50,000 divorce applications were filed in Dhaka, one per hour.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Jennyfar Maria Gomes, a 26-year-old Catholic woman, had discovered that her husband was having an affair. For this reason, she wanted to leave him, but she was killed before she could get back to her family.
Yesterday the autopsy confirmed that her husband, Human Christopher Hemal Gomes, 31, killed her, stabbing her eight times. He had also tortured her.
Jennyfar’s story is not uncommon among young Bangladeshi Catholics, so much so that extramarital relations have become an important concern for the local Church.
Usually the victims’ families do not even go to the police and the cases are ignored, like the one that occurred last year in the Archdiocese of Dhaka, involving another young bride. By contrast, in Jennyfar’s case, hundreds of people have protested.
Jennyfar got married in 2017 in an arranged marriage. Originally from Nagori, where she attended the local parish, she moved to Gazipur, near Dhaka, after her wedding in the church of Kawyachala.
The marriage started to sour when she discovered that he husband was having an affair with an uncle's wife. When she asked him to stop, he refused.
On 28 March, Jennyfar was killed. At present, her husband and father-in-law are on the run, whilst her mother-in-law, Phelomina Dipty Gomes, 48, was arrested by police. The victim leaves an eight-month daughter.
According to Prova Rozario, secretary of the Family Commission of the Archdiocese of Dhaka, the most common reason for cheating "is the lack of ties between husband and wife.”
“Love and respect must be at the base of marriage,” she explains. “If children see that husband and wife are bound by mutual respect, they will do the same and will not look for relationships outside of marriage."
Bangladesh is a country in which social norms are evolving, the Catholic leader notes. "In the past, society was dominated by men, but now women are entering the workforce and expect husbands to help them with household chores."
Given the changes, “it is necessary for couples to prepare themselves (for marriage responsibilities) with appropriate courses. Children suffer a lot from their parents' betrayal. Faith and trust are fundamental in a couple.”
Cheating is not only a problem in the Catholic community, but affects the country as a whole. According to a local newspaper, Prothom Alo, there is one divorce every hour in Dhaka, and cheating is one of the main causes.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the divorce rate jumped 34% in the capital in the past seven years, with a total of 50,000 divorce cases filed. Couples split for a number of reasons.
Women seeks divorce because of the husband’s jealousy, cheating, dowry issues, drugs and Facebook addiction, impotence, bad temper, and emigration.
Men complain when wives do not respect Islamic rules, have a bad attitude, show indifference towards the family, disobey their orders, and cannot have children.