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Polygamy – Another Form of Violence Against Women

The tremendous physical, mental and emotional trauma associated to this practice cannot be measured. Poverty is increased and heightened because they are usually more mouth to feed and provide for.

Though most AU countries are signatories to most of International conventions and treaties on human, women and children rights, this practice still persists. I strongly suggest that Polygamy be listed as one of the violence against women and children in Africa and the world.

In Africa setting, men are said to be polygamous in nature. Those of them that do not marry more than one wife have concubines and mistresses strewn all over. These may have been what was obtainable in the past but must the trend continue? It is culturally and religiously accepted in our communities and society. It is one of the practices Christianity could not stop. African Traditional and Islamic Religion are all for it.

How many men are ready to share their wives, girlfriends and even mistresses? Men are too jealous to share anything they love or own according to them. So why would women be expected to share? Why are they made to share their conjugal rights with other women right under their roof in the name of polygamy?

From the stories in the bible, women have always bear the brunt of emotional stress and burden. David and Solomon had so many wives and concubines and even up till now, some Kings are entitled to marry as many wives as possible – all they need do is point at a girl and it is done. When asked some of these men will naturally tell you they are eradicating poverty by taking these girls of the street and providing for them whereas the reverse is the case – Poverty is recycled and increased especially when these men are not wealthy and well-to-do. The feelings and emotions of these girls are not put into consideration – nobody bothers to find out if the girl wants to be a second, third or fourth wife? I also know that some girls scheme their ways into other women’s home and destroy the bliss that existed.

Polygamy is evil and a serious violence against women because of the physical & emotional torture the women in these sort of marriages and relationships are subjected to. Violence as I understand it is any behaviour that hurts, injure or kill people. I come from a polygamous family and being a woman I understand the competition and emotional poisons that flow and hover around such homes. The competition is usually so high and the family is always sitting on a highly tensed wire waiting to explode. If it does not explode while the man is alive it will definitely explode when the man dies. Children from polygamous homes are sometimes very hostile and aggressive because of the mental and emotional torture they are subjected to because of circumstance of their birth; mothers concentrate on the bickering and children do not get adequate care.

The competition and jealousy most times draw blood in form of murder and other diabolical / dubious means of retaining and sustaining the man’s attention more on one of the wives as against the others. The children of the one favoured are more comfortable than the other. Trust women, we know how to rub it in at every opportunity we have to show that we are the favoured one.

In most cases, the first wife will not consent to her husband taking a second wife except when they have not been able to bear children. A once happy family will turn to a to a battle ground where bitterness and quarrel has taken a permanent abode once a second wife comes into the picture and the man most times do not know how to balance the equilibrium. The wives in turn will indoctrinate their children and the vicious circle continues. The wives can hardly be friends or see themselves as sisters.

For me, the rights of these women and children are violated on daily basis by the extreme emotional torture they pass through day by day and most times they are deprived of certain pleasures of life like the wives having to share conjugal rights by scrambling & partitioning days and weeks to suit their husband. The children will be denied the best things of live that ordinarily they should have enjoyed like adequate shelter, clothes, food and education and sometimes when these things exist, happiness and joy will be lacking because of constant bickering and fighting. The fights may not be physical but when you visit such homes, you will feel the tension. Most women are culprits because we encourage men into polygamy. When a woman fancies a man, she goes all out to seduce him into her bed and starts scheming to be married to him knowing fully well that he is a married man. She will tell you that an African man is polygamous by nature. Of course the man will throw caution to the wind and ends up with the woman.

Sometimes, it is pressure from the man’s family because of sons’ preference that causes it. Every man is expected to have son(s) to take continue the family lineage. Then when a man attains a certain status, he is expected to have an heir to his estate and as far as the family members know, a woman can never be an heir to their relatives’ vast empire assuming the man is wealthy. Which is why so many women and children are driven away from their husband’s house immediately the man dies leaving them on the street to fend for themselves the best way they know or can. If his wife did not have a son, he is advised and pressurised by his family to go for another wife. It is the reason why some families have so many mouth to feed thereby recycling poverty.

i think this custom, tradition and religion that allows a man to marry more than one wife should be abolished. it is not healthy and do not call and encourage peaceful coexistence

Gender-based Violence
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