Traditionally, women have had to bear the brunt of restrictions, silently tolerating various abuses - mental and physical. Among Muslim communities, this taboo is even stronger - especially when the question of physical intimacy is brought up. 


Breaking that tradition, more and more Bengaluru's Muslim women have risen ahead of that barrier and filed applications before the Vanitha Sahaya Vani (VSV) (a women's helpline), seeking divorces as their husbands are unable to be physically intimate with them. 


Iqbal Ahmed, a Senior Counsellor at VSV, said that out of the many cases that seek counselling and legal assistance, 30 percent involve sexual weakness among husbands.


"The women used to be reserved and considered discussing their sexual lives as taboo. But these days women from the Muslim community are not only complaining but are also seeking separation on the grounds of impotence and sexual weakness among man," he said.


Saira (named changed), who is in her late 20s, had approached the helpline earlier this month saying that she wanted a divorce from her husband, Nisaar (name changed). 


In her complaint, she declared that her husband could not satisfy her and she discovered that he was medically unfit when it comes to a healthy sexual life.


"I have been married for five years and have not been able to conceive. I want to have children and enjoy a good sexual life with my husband, but he cannot satisfy me as he is unfit. Hence I have asked for a separation.  As he is delaying, I approached the VSV. They have heard my version and his version too. The senior counsellor has told me to come for next hearing," said Saira.

 

After two sittings, the counsellor suggested to the husband to let his marriage go and agree to a divorce as there is no meaning in the relationship. 


The advisers say, if the husband divorces her, according to Islamic law, he will have to pay his wife a maintenance and other gifts that were given at the time of marriage. Since the divorce is being initiated from the other end, he should accept it as the better solution.


Masood Abdul Khader, Convener, Karnataka Muslim Muthuhida Mahaz, a confederation of Muslim welfare organisations said the community had given rights to both the genders. 


"If a woman wants a divorce, she can file. Initially, an arbitrator will hear the case, and if the solution is not found, then separation is granted," he said.