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polygamy - violence against women

Oge agala mgbe nwanyi n"abughi ihe - 3x
ma na ugbua nwanyi wu ihe

The above lines are in my native tongue which simply means
The time has gone when women were regarded as nothing, now women are everything.

This was a slogan used by a female politician sometime ago. This song actually cut fire among most right thinking women who knows that women has to be heard.

Polygamy is violence against women. Two or more women are thrown together to fight over one man and the man is seen to be lord and master over them. Naturally, women are full of competition and we do not love ourselves. Polygamy should be stopped as I see it as violence against women.

I came from a family of 16. My father, mother, step mother and my siblings 9 from my mother and 4 step siblings. My father and my mother lived well, with good respect, love and attention between them. Problems started for my mother when she had 6 girl children which followed in quick succession of 2 years apart, not from my father but from his family because according to them, SHE HAD ALL GIRLS and my society placed so much value on male children than women who are regarded as nothing - you are counted as one without a child if you do not have male children and it is still so now. My mother had 8 girls and 1 boy. My father's family made her life a living hell and went ahead to suggest to my father that he should send my mother packing with her broods of 7 girls and marry another woman. But my father did not listen to them because he loved us and will not dream of parting from us, though he eventually succumbed to taking a second wife which i believe was his greatest mistake and i know in his heart of hearts, he still regrets it. You may wonder how i know - certain utterance and reactions to certain things gives one some insights.

Immediately my step mother stepped into our home with the full backing of my father's family, she ignited a fire that has taking this long to put out. She raked so much havoc that the house also became so uncomfortable for my father but he could not send her away. My step mother had so many miscarriages which she and her cohorts blamed on my mother witchcraft. My mother being a strong christian held on strongly to her faith and prayed fervently day and night which helped held on to her sanity. God in his infinite mercies, rewarded her and she was delivered of a bouncing baby boy and it was after this time out that my step mother had her first child which turned out to be a boy too.

I became the first child when we lost my elder sister in a mysterious circumstances. I saw most of the happenings around me but could not understand fully what the brouhaha was all about (male & female children) and now that i am grown and i came to understand the second class citizen status bestowed on women.

In the midst of all these, my father remained steadfast in his encouragement, maintaining that all of us must go to school and he used to call us girls and advice us and tell us in limited words what we will face if we are not committed to education and make something good of our lives. Those midnight advices remained the checks and balances in our lives till now.

Though two of my sisters did made the mistake of getting pregnant during their teens, but my father took it in his strides and sent them back to school after child birth. Now we are all grown and doing well in our fields of endeavour and the bedrock of our family (father & mother + husband & children). My stepmother and her children are also doing well and we have continued in our small way to make sure that we remain one big family despite the bitterness of the past. I will continue to make sure we remain close knit. The family is afterall the smallest unit of our society, if the family is not in peace and united, what type of children will come out from such family. Our families have to be fortified in order for us to have a sane society.

Comments

susanncruz's picture

Important issue

In El Salvador, and I've seen it in other Latin American countries, and the U.S. as well, there is a misconception that it is ok for men to have more than one family at a time. Our culture also places a higher value on male children than female children, and that must change. Very powerful post. Thank you.

Susan Cruz

pelamutunzi's picture

true

everything you hace said has just been staright to the point. its time women acted and refused to be the cause of another woman's pain.

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.
regards
pela

radiocami's picture

Thank you for sharing such an

Thank you for sharing such an intense story. In Venezuela, my grandfather had two families, at 9yrs my mom lost her mother and she became the servant of both families, she was also physically abused and kicked out of the house at 16. She worked and went to night school to finish high school. She understood the importance of education and made sure we had the best and went to college. It is my dream to become successful financially so I can give her the best life as she gets older.
It is so sad that we see this inequality and abuse all over the world still. It's time to debunk all the myths and dethrone men who believe they alone can be empowered.
camila

valerie camila rhodes

loretta's picture

Painful situation.

This was a painful and sad situation, sad in that it was the family's decision and not your father's. People like to interfere in matters that do not concern them. Yse, in most cultures girl children are not appreciated 100% and boys are. In my Zulu culture, the reasons are that, boys will carry the family surname and increase it, generation into generation; girls are viewed as an increase of the kraal and will be instrumental in bringing home cows that will pay for their sister-in-law's dowry. There are so many reasons out there and they are all wrong, children are children period.

It's painful because your mother had to put up with a situation that was forced on them and that she was forced to respect. With Africans, polygamy is common but it's more of an issue between the couple. If the wife objects to it, some husband's respect their wishes(not often though) and most often it's the family that calls the wife to order. Which brings us to the common point: women for far too long have been viewed as object subject to nothing but obeying their husband's orders and not being able to say anything about it.

The problem starts in attaching too much energy and importance in marriage, as if there's no life out there if not married, marriage for others ceases to be a matter of choice but an obligation and status and sadly it is still viewed by many as such even to this age. Including educated and liberated women.

I as a Catholic was brought up to understand that marriage is a Sacrament bestowed on one, either you have it or you don't (but that's not the issue) I am happy your family got over the obstacles and now united. True, work hard on that unity and don't give up on it.

God bless you and your family.

Loretta.

A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others throw at her. Author Unkown.

byamungu bahati pascal's picture

Il est temps

Il est temps pour toutes les femmes de lever leurs voix et dénoncer tout ce qui est mal et qui bloque le progrès de la femme. Courage Loretta

Pascal BYAMUNGU

VITSAF's picture

Love the song

Really love the song, it sounds very encouraging and liberating.
To your story, can only imagiene, I rmb ny father nursing that when wewere small just because my mother is quiet......I fought the idea and I thank God it didn't happen.
Your father is a great man, I respect him. I know how how that can be ib Igbo land.........

Great story, thanks for sharing

Much Love
Ogo

Improving the Quality of Life of individuals (primarily women) living with vitiligo, skin imperfections altered images and autoimmune disorder!

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Gracious's picture

So painful

I know what you mean since I have first hand experience though my story did not have a happy ending

Love

otahelp's picture

thanks

Siru, thank you for your understanding

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Initiative
Lets keep the light shining

shahd's picture

Unfair to women, unfair to community

Otahelp,

What can I say? what a pity that our community still think baby's gender is the women's fault. it is totally scientific and has nothing to do with the woman herself!

The exact same thing is happening today in my community and at some point it is has to stop. I am so happy that you could overcome what happened and moved on peacefully. You want to know what I really believe? If your mother was not a good woman, and the girls that your father's family didnt consider, were not good girls, your family would never remain strong and complete family. It is always the women who compromise and give it all. Well done Sweetheart, one day, you will witness the change and remember it is going to be the women who do it !

Loves

Woman of voice's picture

women

Its time women stood up and empathised with each other.

otahelp's picture

so much love

I really appreciate the love that flows here all the time.

thank you for the encouragement through your posts.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Initiative
Lets keep the light shining

Chère Otahelp. Je ne peut que te faire encouragements dans la lutte pour la promotion de la femme. Ta voix est forte.

Pascal BYAMUNGU

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