First mentions of divorce we can find in Babylon king Khammurali’s legislatures of XVIII BC. In India an unfaithful wife was sold as a slave. In peasant Russia she was beaten up violently. Nowadays public opinion polls show that 55% of men and 36% of women cheat their partners, but the real number must be much higher.
In old Russia a man would beat his unfaithful wife up with full understanding from neighbors. Up until the end of XIX century one could observe such a picture of punishment: a naked woman smeared in tar and rolled in feathers is tied to the cart or horse, which her man leads through the village.
Roots of such cruelty lie in primitive communal time. First people fought for purity of their breed. Only a woman could bring some alien blood to it, if she has a someone else’s baby. Maybe this is why Englishmen used the “first night” right when conquered Scotland: this helped to change both the woman’s and her child’s attitude to enemies, because any of them could have been the father.
In India unfaithful wives were treated less cruel: they were sold as slaves.
In old Babylon unfaithful man would receive 25 stick bashes, while unfaithful wife was sentenced to death.
In Muslim countries cheated wives and prostitutes were stoned, until a small hill of stones covered them. This custom remains still in Arab Emirates, and not too long ago it was implemented in “independent” Chechnya.
In England, should a wife cheat her husband, the latter has a right for monetary compensation, which should supplement for what he spent on her during their life as a couple plus a “moral damage to his feelings and honor”. In Bulgaria a guilty partners pays aliments to ex-spouse.
Other countries do not charge the cheaters. However, in Switzerland for instance a court may prohibit the unfaithful one to marry again for 3 years.
The United States see restoration of good old puritan values and morals under presidency of George Bush Jr. A Republican senator of Man state Susan Kasprzak believes adultery should be punished. Not only by the Lord’s judgment, but also by the jury. The unfaithful ones would be imprisoned for one year.
In Belgium a wife can not demand divorce because of adultery, apart when it happened in their mutual flat and there is evidence. On contrary, the man can ask for divorce regardless of the place of cheating. However, the Belgian women still should be glad: for adultery in Middle Ages they would have been stoned to death, and the body thrown into water.
Karl V issued the following law: “The one who cheated maliciously should be quartered according to our customs. If it is a woman, she must be drowned”
In a case when adultery could have caused a big danger (for instance, if it influenced life of the country, city, own master), the punishment might have been worsened: the guilty one was tied to a cart or tortured with ticks. In some cases he or she were first decapitated and then quartered.
In Iran and Iraq today woman may not present at her own divorce process even as a witness.
Up until now in some Muslim countries a man can terminate the marriage by saying to his wife “talak” (“expelled”) three times in presence of witnesses. This is the reason why Arab women wear so many jewelries on them: they are not allowed to take anything from home after three “talak”.
In contrast, in Egypt a wife can push the husband out if she proves that was compelled to marry and also that he is not able to serve his matrimonial duties.
After all this, Russian women should be happy that they have a right to divorce and to cheat without threat of monetary compensation to an impotent husband!