The marriage was arranged (some would say forced), the bride was bonny but had no dowry – still and all the heads of both families were keen. She was fertile, hard working and would produce many weans to work in the family firm. She was promised a life of comfort, ease and foreign travel with no money worries. After a long courtship they were married. Some said it would never work. There were rumours that he was a bit of a lad with other local girls. Many years on, puir auld mither Scotia, long trapped in a loveless marriage of increasing inconvenience, has taken a tumble to herself and is now suing for divorce.
Papa England the patriarch is not happy. He is only now beginning to notice that women vote, own and inherit property and have sole custody of the children, are educated, have jobs, manage their own money, have friends outside the home and make their own decisions. He hangs on to his age old entitlements and insists on her obedience, he claims ownership of her assets and violates her natural beauty when it suits him. He still controls the household finances. Although he did hand over decisions about some domestic matters to shut her up a few years back when she did that course about democracy and empowerment and got a bit above herself. He still keeps a large stash of weapons in the hall cupboard and regularly polishes them to remind her who’s boss. He knows how to use them.
He threatens her and puts her down: telling her she cannot stand on her own feet, or survive without him, that she is hysterical and stupid and will destroy the family if she continues with this foolishness. He messes with her head. One minute she’s the love of his life, she’s beautiful, a princess, next minute she is ugly and useless. She is sick of it.
He worries about his standing in the community if they divorce, he is the president and a leading patron of important clubs and charities. He is a popular figure and is used to having her by his side, showing her off and doing the needful when they have people over for dinner or summer barbeques in the grounds of their extensive estate. He is damned if she is getting her hands on that, the land has been in his family for generations.
Scotia is undaunted. She has a good lawyer and the children have left home. She is happy at the prospect of a life free from his control. She has already moved out and has a lovely flat in Edinburgh and is enjoying her freedom. She is working and earning her own money now- she is not rich but she is content. She doesn’t need him but she did put a great deal into the marriage and worked hard while he pursued his career. She is entitled to a share of their joint assets. Her relationship with her children is better than ever but her soon to be ex-husband is bitter and twisted and continues to stalk and threaten her. Some of their old friends won’t talk to her now. She feels safe though. She has lots of support around her, many friends and family have not deserted her. Her future looks bright. She may consider dating again but not for a while. She will never marry again… she likes her independence too much.