Saturday, December 19, 2009

Angry, Humbled, Surprised and Verclempt

I got angry a few times, was surprised by a few things and was choked up three different times as I sat through the last day of testimony in the Keate case in Eldorado.


I was angry when I listened to Dr. Write from San Angelo testify that in his expert opinion the chances Mr. Keate would ever repeat his offense if he were granted probation by the jury were "tiny". That burned me up. In one breath he was testifying about how Mr. Keat was simply a religious and highly conscientious man trying to fulfill the tenets of his faith and in the next declaring him of being at an infinitesimally small risk of repeating his offense.


I'm always angered by blatant ignorance. If the man was so conscientious about maintaining obedience to his faith, what on earth could lead an expert to testify there was only a "tiny" risk that he would repeat the offense? His offense was, indeed, caused by his conscientious adherence to his faith, through perfect obedience to his "prophet".


I was also angered by the character witness who winged his way down here from Utah to testify what good character Mr. Keate had. In one breath he was giving sworn testimony about the nature of his relationship to Mr. Keate being a business relationship, upon which millions of dollars of business had been conducted on a simple handshake, and in the next, when asked by the prosecutor if Mr. Keate's conviction for sexually assaulting a minor child had changed his opinion of the man, he was saying "It has not". He testified that he had lunch with Mr. Keate on several occasions and had been fishing with him. His biggest endorsement of his character was that Mr. Keate had never even told him a good "fish story". When the prosecutor asked Mr. Rostenburger if Mr. Keate had ever mentioned any of his wives [naming his legal spouse and each of his concubines], he said "no" to every one.


How do you manage to do "millions of dollars of business on a handshake", have multiple lunches and go on fishing trips with someone and never hear a single word about their spouse or the love[s] of their life? Yeah, these women obviously mean a lot to him.


For the first portion of the testimony I sat with Mr. Keate's family and friends. I was surrounded by FLDS members. I never mind if they look at my notes as long as they don't mind if I peek at theirs, too.


The only time it freaked me out was when Willie passed me and his butt brushed my hand. Antibacterial soap took care of the after effects of the internal "eeww". I was quite irritated a couple of times when we were asked to "all rise" for the entrance or departure of the jury and Willie was yammering on in conversation with the people sitting around him. I wanted to say, "Hey, dude, that's a jury of Texans doing a sacred civic duty. Show some respect and shut yer yapper!" But I just shot him an icy stare and pursed my lips in disapproval.


I can never see Willie that the boy in the window of his house in Cedar City doesn't haunt me. I see that baby in my dreams sometimes. I figure that is more a reflection of my own psyche than anything else. Having buried the only son I will ever have, it is beyond me to think of a little boy looking so lost and unloved. For me, he is the literal poster child of the Lost Boys. Every time Willie says, "there is no victim" my stomach churns and I wonder where the bruised little boy in the window is now, what his name is, who holds him when he is hurt or if he goes to bed at night wishing someone would love him. I sometimes picture myself scooping him up into my arms, hugging him and stroking his hair, whispering to him about what a good boy he is... These are things I try to let go of... like death, which Lonesome Dove's Captain Woodrow Call was right about, “The best thing you can do with death is ride off from it".


Sometime that morning I ran into a character involved in this drama and was informed they read my blog. I was shocked, and quite humbled. I know many people read it and never comment but it truly was a surprise, and I will cherish that little revelation for a long time.


I have never said anything here about the Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice of the Office of the Attorney General, Mr. Eric Nichols. I have held my tongue [something I rarely do] and waited to see what would happen as these trials progressed. I have to say I was surprised. I was very pleasantly surprised by the tact taken by Mr. Nichols during sentencing.


Mr. Nichols is slowly building a case against polygamy. He is not building a case based on persecution of the FLDS, or of Joseph Smith or any religion. Mr. Nichols is wading into the water of going after polygamy as an abuse of women. I was stunned when I saw it for myself. The defense was adamant in it's continual objection to the testimony of Dr. Lawrence Beal. At one point Mr. Wilson, Keate's attorney, jumped up and insisted that Dr. Beal's testimony was irrelevant to the case and that the generalities of identifying polygamy as an abuse would prove grossly prejudicial to the jury, since the case was not about polygamy. Twice within a ten minute period Judge Walther asked the jury to get back up and leave the courtroom to hash the issue out. She overruled his objections and allowed his testimony, basically saying that his testimony that polygamy is abuse was indeed relevant to the case. His paper is currently undergoing a peer review process.


Nothing, however, could have prepared me for Assistant Attorney General Angela Goodwin, who was given fifteen minutes of the prosecution's allotted time in the closing argument phase. She succinctly explained the betrayal of trust that Keate's victim had endured, along with three of his daughters. She asked the jury to send a message to the victim and to all the girls on the YFZ that she is free, they are Americans, they have rights, they can say "no". This is America and they have choices. They do not have to get married or have babies if they don't feel they are ready. I sat spellbound listening to her almost gently say these things and I felt my chest tighten, my lips quiver and the tears filling my eyes. She was speaking for women, giving us a voice in that courtroom. I had to swallow hard to keep from "losing it". When she was done I had to clasp my hands together, lest I begin clapping.


Mr. Wilson, in his closing arguments, reminded me of a character actor delivering a soliloquy as Benjamin Franklin. I must say his frumpy physical appearance is a dead ringer for the founding father, right down to the balding head on top, with longer hair in a blunt cut on the back and wire rimmed glasses.


Someone later told me that he was suffering stomach problems and had been forced more than once to run for the bathroom. He was also, according to a source, caught twice smoking in the bathroom and run out and chastised by the Rangers. This was [again according to a source] after he had been twice before locked out of the courtroom when he had run out for a quick smoke previously. Mr. Wilson, to me, seemed like a man who was doing the best with what he had, which wasn't much. He was obliged to give a competent defense for Mr. Keate. He had to defend the indefensible. He had to argue, using freedom of religion, that his client deserved probation.


I was angry when he told the jury that Mr. Keate was guilty of nothing more than trying to serve his G-d. He actually said that the state of Texas, the government was waging a "religious war" on the FLDS, and asked them if next Texas might come after parents who allow their children to take communion, "Will the Catholics be next"? Then he pandered to the jury's two black members, using the civil rights movement and comparing a woman who simply wanted to ride a bus to the FLDS trying to be true to their faith. Um, yeah, sips of communion wine/child rape...same deal, uh hu, okay.


My opinion? Poor Mr. Wilson should have a blessed Christmas holiday and the greatest gift he could possibly have is that this stressful nightmare, and his role in it, is over. I think his rumored tummy troubles should all go away now, and quite possibly his nicotine intake will level off as well. Those of us who smoke know that stress drives you to smoke more than you should. I almost felt sorry, and afterwords relieved for him. I've always adored Benjamin Franklin.


Mr. Nichols closed strongly. He is an astute practitioner of his field. I cannot say I ever warmed to him on any personal level but I was impressed with his litigation skills. He hammered home the fact that this girl "believed” to please G-d, she must please Mr. Keate and that he had her ticket to the celestial kingdom in his hands. She had no choice but to submit and obey. He asked them to think about Mr. Wilson's argument that this was a religious right and said, "They just don't get it". He tackled the comparison to the civil rights movement and again said, "They don't get it". He asked the jury to show them that they do “get it”.


When it was over I had to go up to Ms. Goodwin. I threw my arms around her and gave her a big long hug and said "Thank you, thank you, thank you". When we finally let go I saw that she was about to cry, too. I didn't want anyone to see me cry so I was trying to pull it back together but I was honestly shaking in my boots. I was verclempt for sure. I wished Flora could have been there to hear what I had heard.


After the jury was sent into deliberation, as I was leaving two young FLDS boys [I call them boys but am sure they were 18 or over] were lurking around the car as I was getting in and they were pointing and laughing at my signage, which reads "POLYGAMY IS ABUSE". I was in the middle of leaving a message for Flora and rolled down my window when I saw them start taking pictures of me with their camera phones, "Hey y'all, Flora says hey!” Then I backed up to leave, briefly blocking in their vehicle and took a couple of pictures of their license plate.


What I heard in that courtroom was a vindication of my faith. I do not believe in the Fed but with everything inside of me, I do believe in Texas. I always have.


I would like to thank Greg Abbott, Eric Nichols, Angela Goodwin, the Texas Rangers, Judge Barbara Walther, Sheriff David Doran and his staff, the citizens of Eldorado and Scleicher County and most of all the jury members for giving me undeniable proof that the faith I have, and have always had in Texas is justified.


After the sentence was read I ran from the courtroom just like last time but this time I was shouting for joy, "G-D BLESS TEXAS!" as I ran for the vehicle to call my friend Flora who wanted so badly to be free and no one would help her as a child.


I believe, I believe, I believe....


The eyes of Texas are upon you all the live long day....

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Request sent to Canada

December 13, 2009

Hon. Michael de Jong
Attorney General
Government of British Columbia

Dear Hon. Michael de Jong:

If there is no prohibition against a non-Canadian organization participating, the board of directors of Americans Against Abuses of Polygamy is interested in the reference proceedings regarding the ruling on the polygamy law in Canada. As Executive Director, I wish to receive a) a copy of the reference questions; and, b) a letter inviting the AAAP to apply to the Court to be added as a party or intervener in these proceedings.

The cultural practice of polygamy has been identified by the United Nations as a recognized human rights abuse of women, worldwide. Part of the stated mission of the AAAP is to educate the public on the inherent abuses of the cultural practice of polygamy. Empirical medical research around the globe clearly shows that polygamy is both physically and psychologically harmful to women and children. Polygamy, regardless of the religion used to justify its practice, is an abuse of the rights of women to receive equal standing and treatment with males. We can identify no culture on earth where polygamy is practiced that women agree to this demoralizing "lifestyle", without being raised to believe they must submit to it for reasons of religion.

We are grateful that the government of Canada is finally addressing the question of whether this ancient, oppressive and barbaric practice has any place within an egalitarian democracy.


Sincerely,

--

K. Dee Ignatin
Executive Director
Americans Against Abuses of Polygamy
TripleAP@gmail.com
www.TripleAP.org
www.tripleap.blogspot.com
Abuse is not a religion: http://tripleap.tumblr.com

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Please Help with LegalZoom Contest

LegalZoom, which is the wonderful service we used to incorporate the AAAP is having a contest for its customers, and the AAAP has submitted an entry.

Would you be so kind as to help us by visiting their contest site and voting for our entry, then asking as many of your friends and family members as possible to do the same?

You can make the search process easier by selecting the Non-Profit category from the drop down menu and looking for the one titled "Triple AP Put on your boots".

We get points every time a vote is cast, as well as for every time the video is played.

The grand prize is $5,000 cash, which we can definitely use, especially to pay for our 501 (c) 3 paperwork.

There is also an opportunity for the winner to appear in a national commercial for LegalZoom, which would be a tremendous help to our efforts to spread the word about the human rights abuse of polygamy taking place in America.

http://www.legalzoom.com/contest/ratevideos.aspx

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Victim Game

I'm not a big victim fan. I am, however, a huge fan of survivors. That's one reason I loved Flora from the moment I met her. She started life as a victim and fought her way out of it until she was free. That made her a survivor.

That said, I have noticed in people who express genuine concern for the victims of American polygamy a disturbing pattern emerging. I call it "the never ending victim".

Perfectly reasonable people who understand that most pedophiles were abused as children themselves, and have no problem sending men to prison once they have crossed the line from victim, over to abuser, want to brand the women of polygamy as completely helpless victims who should not be held accountable for their actions.

I find this to be a blatantly anti-feminist and misogynistic way of thinking. Everyone knows that abuse is a cycle. Everyone knows that just because a boy grows up in an abusive home where his father is an alcoholic wife beater he is never excused or given a free pass once he begins to engage in the same behavior.

As I read more about polygamy around the world I understand that women are not only a necessary part of the victim cycle, they are also a necessary part of the polygamy abuse cycle.

Take these two quotes, both from national news stories about polygamists this week:

By JON GAMBRELL
Associated Press Writer

On the Tony Alamo Case:

"One woman even testified that she was "married" to Alamo at age 14 during a visit to him in prison, with a group of other "wives" blocking guards' view as he groped her".

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Associated Press

On the Elizabeth Smart case:

"At a hearing last month, Smart said that within hours of the abduction, Mitchell took her as a polygamous wife and then raped her. Smart said Barzee washed the teen's feet and dressed her in robes before the ceremony."

In both cases women were facilitating the abuse occurring within their respective polygamous practice.

Why do some act as though it is a big mystery how the abuse cycle, any abuse cycle, works?

Is it not evident that polygamy needs a very strong matriarchal structure to function? How would it continue without the cooperation and active participation of the women themselves?

Why, when over two hundred Texas children were identified as having been the victims of abuse, were they sent back to the very women who facilitated it? These women blatently attempted to obfuscate facts as simple as their names and ages when questioned by Texas authorities. Why?

Because they completely understand this country's laws against polygamy and have made the conscious decision to break the law, no matter what it ever costs them.

Now, I'd like to know exactly what other felony crime a woman can commit in this country with complete immunity from prosecution? Never mind when she hands her child over to a polygamist she is earning her heavenly brownie points, or upping her standing within the community. Do you really think there is no reward in giving her children over for rape? Do you really think there is no reward in preventing her little girl from ever knowing about the freedoms and opportunities she is born entitled to in America?

Every time you excuse one of these women in the name of "she's just a victim", you are spitting on little Flora Jessop as she tries to cross a desert to get away, because she knew it was all wrong.

They all know it, they've just made different choices, illegal choices.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Oh Canada, "Thank you"!

Canadians support polygamy prosecutions

Only 18 per cent of those surveyed believe practice is protected under Charter of Rights and Freedoms



Hard Evidence is Bountiful

For the full story: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Bramham+hard+evidence+polygamy+damage+bountiful/2223717/story.html



Bramham: The hard evidence of polygamy's damage is bountiful


Saturday, November 14, 2009

When Mother's Culture Pimps Daughters

From the OWFI site... Iraq's Unspeakable Crime: Mothers Pimping Daughters

http://www.equalityiniraq.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=110:iraqs-unspeakable-crime-mothers-pimping-daughters&catid=35:articles&Itemid=55


She goes by Hinda, but that's not her real name. That's what she's called by the many Iraqi sex traffickers and pimps who contact her several times a week from across the country. They think she is one of them, a peddler of sexual slaves. Little do they know that the stocky auburn-haired woman is an undercover human-rights activist who has been quietly mapping out their murky underworld since 2006.

That underworld is a place where nefarious female pimps hold sway and where impoverished mothers sell their teenage daughters into a sex market that believes females who reach the age of 20 are too old to fetch a good price. The youngest victims, some ages 11 and 12, are sold for as much as $30,000, while others can go for as little as $2,000. "The buying and selling of girls in Iraq, it's like the trade in cattle," Hinda says. "I've seen mothers haggle with agents over the price of their daughters."

The trafficking routes are both local and international, and most often connect to Syria, Jordan and the gulf (primarily the United Arab Emirates). The victims are trafficked either illegally on forged passports or "legally" through forced marriages. A married female, even one as young as 14, raises few suspicions if she's traveling with her "husband." The girls are then divorced upon arrival and put to work.

Nobody knows exactly how many Iraqi women and children have been sold into sexual slavery since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003. There is no official number because of the shadowy nature of the business. Baghdad-based activists like Hinda and others estimate it to be in the tens of thousands. Still, it remains a hidden crime, one that the 2008 U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons report says the Iraqi government is not combating. Baghdad, the report says, "offers no protection services to victims of trafficking, reported no efforts to prevent trafficking in persons and does not acknowledge trafficking to be a problem in the country."

While sexual violence has accompanied warfare for millenniums and insecurity always provides opportunities for criminal elements to profit, what is happening in Iraq today reveals how far a once progressive country (relative to its neighbors) has regressed on the issue of women's rights and how ferociously the seams of a traditional Arab society that values female virginity have been ripped apart. Baghdad's Minister of Women's Affairs, Nawal al-Samarraie, resigned last month in protest of the lack of resources provided to her by the government. "The ministry is just an empty post," she told TIME. "Why do I come to the office every day if I don't have any resources?" Yet even al-Samarraie doesn't think sex-trafficking is an issue. "It's limited," she said, adding that she believed the girls involved choose to engage in prostitution.

That's a view that infuriates activists like Yanar Mohammed, who heads the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq. "Let me take her to the nightclubs of Damascus and show her [trafficked] women by the thousands," she says. To date, the government has not prosecuted any traffickers. And for the past year it has prevented groups like Mohammed's from visiting women's prisons, where they have previously identified victims, many of whom are jailed for acts committed as a result of being trafficked, such as prostitution or possessing forged documents....

The rest of the article can be found here: http://www.equalityiniraq.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=110:iraqs-unspeakable-crime-mothers-pimping-daughters&catid=35:articles&Itemid=55


RANIA ABOUZEID / BAGHDAD

Source: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1883696,00.html

Campaign to stop polygamy in Kurdistan-Iraq

For more information: http://www.equalityiniraq.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=100:campaign-to-stop-polygamy-in-kurdistan-iraq&catid=34:campaigns&Itemid=54



Campaign to stop polygamy in Kurdistan-Iraq

-To the Kurdish Parliament and the Kurdistan Regional Government

We demand the repeal of polygamous marriages and all other discriminatory laws against women in Kurdistan.

On October 27, 2008, legislation allowing polygamous marriages was passed in a parliamentary session in Erbil, the capital city of Kurdistan. This legislation is part of a constitutional draft proposing to replace the old family status law, in use since 1958. It was changed partially, under Saddam Hussein, to subjugate women’s rights further.

After the fall of Saddam’s regime in 2003, a new constitution was written and passed in Iraq. This constitution was solely based on Islamic Sharia Law and openly stated its support for gender apartheid against women. We clearly see that the proposed constitution for the Kurdish region is no better than the Iraqi one. In fact, it is just a smaller version.

The current family status law was reactionary enough—being purely based on discrimination against women and their treatment in society as second class citizens—but now the Kurdish Regional Government wants to change it further, and not for the better.

Women in Kurdistan have been subjected to all kinds of violence and discrimination throughout their history. Under Saddam’s regime, they endured all kinds of hardship, torture and abuse. They have fared no better under the current Kurdish rule. “Honour killings”, female genital mutilation, forced marriages, bullying women to commit suicide and the denial of civil and individual rights have been the main characteristics for almost the past two decades.

The approval of this current legislation will assist in the oppression of women and lead to a huge increase in violence against women. This is a historical mistake. We hold the Kurdish parliament and its government responsible for the violations of women’s rights in this region, due to these discriminatory laws.

Therefore, we call upon every concerned organisation and individual to support us in this campaign to repeal this law. We also call for unconditional equal rights, freedom and equality for women in Kurdistan to be enshrined in law.

Yours Truly,

-Yanar Mohammed: President of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq

-Houzan Mahmoud: representative abroad of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq-UK

-Michael Eisenscher: National coordinator of US labour against the war

-Diana Namie: Director of Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation

-Maria Hagberg: President of Network against honour crimes - Sweden

-Rega Svensson: Head of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq-Sweden

-Nancy Mereska, Coordinator, Stop Polygamy in Canada

-Professor Fabienne Charlotte Orazie Vallino: Vietterbo University-Italy,

-Joe Tougas: Journalist, Human Rights Activist - USA

-Jennifer Kemp: OWFI board member in USA


-Daniel W. Smith: Journalist— Baghdad, Iraq/ New Haven, Connecticut-USA

-Maryam Namazie: Spokesperson, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran

-Joanne Payton: International Campaign against Honour Killings

-Thomas Unterrainer: Nottingham

- Sam Azad: Socialist campaigner

- Anne R. Grady, Massachusetts, USA

-Ingrid Ternert: Representative of the Peace movement in Gutenberg.

-Ruth Appleton Co-ordinator Santé Refugee Mental Health Access Project

-Anna-Lisa: Björneberg- Wilpf Sweden

-Aase Fosshaug: Sweden

-Heidi Maugué-Aebi: Women for peace Switzerland

Agnes Hohl: Women for peace Switzerland

Annamaria Traber: Women for peace Switzerland

Beatrice Fankhauser: Women for peace Switzerland

Lini Culetto: Women for peace Switzerland

- Gulzar Ali Kadir: Organisation of women’s Freedom in Iraq – Denmark

-Sara Mohammed: Never forget Fadime and Pela Organisation-Sweden

-Nabaz Xalid: Worker Communist party of Iraq- Sweden

-Maria Rashidi: Kvinnorsrätt - Sweden

-Ali Mahmud Mhamad: Writer Holland

-CHAK organisation: www.chaknews.com

-Zana Kurdistani: General Supervisor of Kurdistan Truth Party

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Jury

As I looked at the jury I understood instantly what had happened. The men all looked pissed and tired, while the women looked like they had been through Hell. They had puffy eyes, some tears, and a mostly drawn exhausted demeanor.

They looked like they had really fought. I felt bad for them.

As soon as I saw the Rangers let one local reporter out the door, I bolted, too, for the rental car and my cell phone.

I didn't call a reporter. It is not my job to bring anyone the news first. That is the media's job. It is also not my job to provide you with the legal analysis. My job as an activist and an advocate is to provide you with the human perspective.

My first information obligation is to the people who have been victimized, raped and abused by the polygamists culture.

My call was to Flora Jessop. She, more than anyone else, deserved to be the first to know. She escaped when she was a child, got to Utah CPS, was called a liar and sent back for more abuse, at the hands of women this time. Nobody ever listened to her. They called her a "crazy liar" from the start.

Then of course, I have a board to report to. These people need to be the first people I give information to.

I am here as a human rights advocate and anti-polygamy activist to give you the human perspective on this sentence.

For the community members who testified that Mr. Jessop was a hard worker, a good father and honest business man, because you enjoyed a profitable business deal with him, G-d help your souls.

For the witness who testified that you would trust your own children to Mr. Jessop's care, G-d forgive you for your ignorance. Mr. Jessop is never going to be a danger to your children. Mr. Jessop's faith requires him to think of your children as corrupt, defiled, impure and definitely not "delightfully whitesome" enough.

Mr. Jessop is only a danger to little girls raised in his cult, behind the gates of the YFZ. They are all taught from birth to believe they must "Keep Sweet" and be completely obedient, or they will burn forever in Hell.

The boys are taught the very same thing. Then when they reach adolescence they are systematically driven from the city. The mothers allow this to happen to their sons. Some mothers, on their husband or the prophet's command have driven their sons away from home and dumped them personally, to demonstrate their perfect obedience.

Mr. Jessops children are much more likely to hurt your children someday. Once they start dumping the boys and driving them away, then you will have to worry about your children.

These boys are damaged beyond description, ask Brent Jeffs.

I hope Scleicher and Tom Green County don't ever have this kind of problem. One lost boy in Utah demanded his girlfriend have sex with him at a party in front of all his friends. When she refused, he shot her in the head and did it anyway. His defense? He had no concept that females were ever allowed to refuse to obey a male. Shariah law is a nice fit with that. Muslim Shariah law requires a woman to have four male witnesses if she is raped, otherwise it is her fault and she is beaten for being raped.

If a Shariah law court has witnesses, two women count as one man. No one woman can ever testify. She doesn't count alone.

If you decriminalize polygamy by handing out anything but severe penalties for the practice, our Muslim sisters in Houston, Dallas and Austin are going to start coming home to even more extra wives. After all, if you won't prosecute the nice cheese making white folks who live on a compound for the human right's crime, how can you possibly enforce the law inside your major cities?

The eyes of Texas should now be moving to the first full blown Bigamy trial.

It's time to stand up for traditional marriage, all the way around. If you complain about gay marriage, and in any way support these criminals in their right to keep concubines, especially under any freedom of religion argument, then you are a hypocrite and don't really believe in traditional marriage but are only interested in discriminating against people for their sexual preferences.

You either support the protection of traditional marriage or you don't. You can't pick and choose gender roles for exceptions. Polygamists rape little girls. It's what they do. It's what they have to do to keep them in it. The female children must be saddled with offspring before they are developmentally mature enough to make their own decisions. Otherwise, too many women would leave before submitting to the abuse of concubinage.

She must believe it is the only means to her salvation, a refusal would mean burning in eternal Hell, or that she has no right to complain about the abuse and submits out of fear.

No matter how you slice it, this makes victims.

Abuse is not a religion.


To those of the jury who fought so hard, "thank you".

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Impact

The impact of polygamy on United
Arab Emirates’ first wives and their
children
MARIAM SULTAN ABDULLA AL-SHAMSI & LEON C. FULCHER


Abstract
Exploratory research examined the impact of polygamy on first wives and their children in the United Arab Emirates. Twenty-five first wives reported on how polygamy impacted their lives and the lives of their children through responding to a questionnaire with 14 closed-response and 7 open-response questions. Results obtained from primary and secondary data sources were discussed with focus groups of family members and friends. Relationships were found to be especially problematic when the wife did not know her husband planned to marry again or give clear reasons about his decision to take another wife. Over half the children were reported by their mothers to have experienced psychological effects, reduced educational performance and fathers reportedly spent very little time with them after re-marrying.

Polygamy is little known in Western countries although such practices are wide spread in Arab countries and other parts of the world even though it is not a universally accepted practice in any of these places. Western readers will be more familiar with research that examines the impact of divorce, illicit affairs or re-constituted families but rarely are they given opportunity to consider normative experiences with polygamy. Nor will Western readers be very familiar with the ways in which polygamy is endorsed within particular cultural frames of reference,
having social, economic and religious justifications. This paper offers Western readers opportunity to examine an issue that impacts on families in the United Arab Emirates, highlighting ways in which first wives and their children are impacted through such experiences.

As the daughter of a first wife in a large extended family, the principal researcher sought to explore potential benefits arising from polygamy as well as its impact on children.

Three social science research objectives were identified for the study (Sultan Abdulla Al-Shamsi, 2004). The first was to explore the impact of polygamy on first wives while the second was to examine the impact of polygamy on the children of first wives. The third objective was to explore how first wives viewed the relationship their children had with their father and half siblings. In what follows, polygamy is first defined as articulated in the Holy Qur’an and the reasons for entering into polygamy are identified showing why men decided to marry second wives. Then the exploratory findings from this study are highlighted and discussed, offering comparisons with other research findings from the Gulf Region about the way polygamy impacts on first wives and their children. Implications are drawn for the development of responsive welfare practices with children and families in the UAE and other Gulf Region states, as well as supporting comparative research on the welfare of first wives and their children in Western countries.

Polygamy occurs when a man has more than one wife, or less commonly, when a woman has
married more than one husband at the same time. The word polygamy comes from two Greek words meaning many marriages. The practice of polygamy can be found in many places in both Asia and Africa. Islam restricts the number of wives a man can marry but there are no limits on the number of women a man can marry in the Hindu religion. Polygamy was once practised in countries such as China and Turkey but now laws in those countries prohibit it. US law prohibits polygamy although some American families – especially in the western part of that country – are said to still practice it (The World Book Encyclopaedia 2001). While cultural practices in most Western countries seemingly permit adults to enter into relationships with
multiple partners, formal marriage to multiple partners is illegal.

Until the Qur’an was revealed 1400 years ago, polygamy was not permitted in Arabic countries. Since then, Islam has accepted polygamy and gives men permission to marry up to four wives at any one time. Clear rules must be followed when men choose to engage in polygamy. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah says “Marry women of your choice two, or three, or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to treat justly with them, then only one... That will be more suitable to prevent you from evil” (Qur’an, 4:3). If a man cannot treat each of his wives equally,then he should only take one wife (Bewely, 1999). Another verse in the Holy Qur’an says “You will never be able to deal justly between wives however much you desire (to do so). But (if you have more than one wife) do not turn altogether away from (from one) leaving her in suspense” (Qur’an, 4:129). Thus, while Islam permits and may sometimes encourage polygamy, if men are afraid of being able to treat their wives fairly, they are not allowed to marry again and should have only one wife (Bewely, 1999). While the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) practiced polygamy after his wife Kadijah died, the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was fair between his wives and only married for the reasons allowed (Khalifa, 1999).

In modern times, there remains much misunderstanding about polygamy. In countries like the UAE there can be many problems arising from polygamy because of such misunderstandings when men act without reference to the teachings of Islam (Jameelah, 2001). In one UAE study, Al Toneji (2001) found that when men married again most could not be fair between their wives and faced many problems. Seventy-five percent of participants in that study agreed that husbands with more than one wife faced economic problems because of having to pay for two houses (Al Toneji, 2001). Al Samraee found that in successful marriages, husbands were able to be fair between their wives by spending enough time with them and their children, dealing with them in the same way and providing them with enough money (Al Samraee, 2002).

Another UAE study showed how government encouragement was given for men to marry again because the Emirate population was decreasing. Policies were adopted
that encouraged polygamy so as to increase the number of Emirati people (Al Darmeki, 2001) although it is difficult to find estimations of the actual proportion of polygamous families overall.

A Kuwait study found that seventy-one percent of women thought men could not be fair between their wives and fifty percent of men in polygamous relationships agreed that they could not be fair between their wives (Abdu Salaam, 1997). Throughout Islam, it is important that husbands tell their first wife whenever he plans to marry again. When husbands do not tell their first wife before re-marrying then he commits infidelity with the first wife and brings new problems into their life (Al Kobesi, 2001). Many Muslim countries have introduced new onditions for men who might be contemplating polygamy. In Egypt, Philips (2001) found that while permission is required from the first wife, few women actually give their husbands
permission to marry a second wife. Findings from the same Kuwait study showed that nearly two-thirds of women agreed with polygamy if her husband told her first before he married again but roughly half the men did not agree with telling his wife before re-marrying. When men do tell their first wife before marrying again there are fewer family problems (Abdu Sa-laam, 1997). Khadijah (2002) found that women in Egypt did not accept polygamy and those who did were mostly poor people who did not know that polygamy means fairness between wives.

Abdu Salaam’s Kuwait study (1997) found that women did not agree with men who entered
into polygamy because the men did not apply the Islamic principle of fairness between their wives. Two-thirds of women in that study agreed that men did not apply the Islamic condition of fairness while half the men disagreed. Some men offer reasons for polygamy that have been traditionally acceptable, such as when their first wife is infertile, is not giving birth to sons, is physically or mentally ill or when they are widowed (Al Kobesi, 2001). A hospital-based study in the UAE examined the experiences of infertile women, exploring the effects of infertility
on their life (Kayata, 2003). Many of these women lived in polygamous marriages because they could not have children. Having children was very important in these women’s lives and men who did not have children commonly re-married in order to have children (Kayata,2003). Another reason for polygamy has to do with men dying in war and the population of men decreasing while the proportion of women increases thereby reinforcing societal injunctions for men to take multiple wives (Al Haneei, 2003).

Other reasons for polygamy reported by Abdu Salaam in the Kuwait study noted Ayoob’s
findings such as when men had problems with their first wife, when the first wife worked and was busy all the time or when the men sought honour and challenge (1997). Abdullah Al Ansari reported that a lot of men married a second wife because of their own personal needs and desires without really thinking about his family (Lootah, undated). Thus it seems that many in the Arabic world – both women and men – disagree with polygamy for any reason(Abdu Salaam, 1997), noting that studies in other Arab countries found that polygamy was not widespread as in Egypt (4%), Syria (5%) or Iraq (8%). Al-Sharnebi claimed that the first wife is especially affected by polygamy being prone to psychological problems caused by anger and these women are also more likely to visit a psychiatrist or counsellor (2002). Another UAE study (Zeitoun, 2001) found that polygamy contributed to family disintegration but that
men were less likely to consider the negative effects of polygamy, marrying again and having more children without contemplating the long-term effects.

A Jordanian study found that polygamy and other family problems influenced children to search for work were more likely to drop out of school, become addicted to alcohol, become involved in juvenile delinquency and develop low self-esteem (Alfaqer wa Tashqeel Alatfal fe Alordon, 2002). Zeitoun’s UAE study carried out at the Juvenile Care Center in Sharjah(2001) found that polygamy and divorce were associated with almost 95 percent of cases. This study found that one hundred cases aged between 13 and 17 from Sharjah and Northern Emirates were placed in care because of crimes such as theft or indecent practices associated with sexuality. These children came from families whose parents were divorced and the UAE
national father was married to more than one wife (Zeitoun, 2001).

There are many types of polygamous family and while polygamy may resolve some social
problems in the UAE, such as spinsterhood and population decline, other social problems still result from polygamy such as divorce, marriage problems, absent fathers and psychological problems in children (Al Darmeki, 2001) – all important when considering the special role played by parents in shaping the development of adolescent identity (Santrock, 2002; Al-Krenawi, 2001). Polygamy was also found to be the main factor causing marriage problems between spouses, causing jealousy between wives and selfishness leading to divorce (Shalash,2003). Al-Krenawi’s study amongst Bedouin Arabs showed that polygamy affected children’s behaviours, contributed to low self-esteem and feelings of loneliness reinforcing the idea that
parental relationships are very important in shaping children’s behaviour (2001). Al Kobesi’s UAE study showed that children from monogamous families adjusted to school better than children from polygamous families, and that children from different wives rarely developed positive sibling relationships with sibling rivalries and jealousy reported instead (2001).

Zeitoun’s UAE study found that polygamy for some people meant having more children, but having more children from different wives meant that the children from these wives did not know each other (2001), highlighting the need for fathers to think about their first wife and the needs of the children from their first wife. A man needs to respect his first wife and his children’s rights, and should also spend committed time with his first wife and the children from his first wife (Jameelah, 2001). First wives are frequently left to worry about their life and what they need to live a happy life, or to enable their children to grow up in a happy fam-
ily. First wives are commonly expected to be patient, and to let their children love and respect their father. First wives are also expected to encourage their children to love their half brothers and sisters from other wives (Yahya, 2001). If men cannot be fair between their wives they should not marry again because there are likely to be many problems. All too often, these problems are not considered before choices are made to enter polygamous relationships.

Methodology

An exploratory and descriptive design was adopted for this study, using a questionnaire developed by the researcher and her supervisor with 14 closed-response and 7 open-response questions. Purposive sampling with a snowball sampling technique was used to invite thirty, first wives – all Emirati women living with their husbands and his other wives – to complete the survey in their own homes during a four-week period at the end of 2003. The questionnaire was developed in two languages – English and Arabic – to aid understanding by all participants. 25 first wives completed the questionnaires, all UAE nationals living in the nation’s capital, Abu Dhabi. It is impossible to say whether this sample was in any way representative of the population of UAE first wives overall.

The researcher met with participants and discussed the research before giving them the questionnaire. Ethical safeguards involved explaining each question and why it was included in the questionnaire. The women were left to complete the questionnaires on their own so as to feel free about answering the questions. Participants were given the research supervisor’s phone number and were encouraged to ask any questions if feeling unsure or if faced with difficult questions. None of the participants availed themselves of this offer. Participants were invited to read and sign a consent form before completing the questionnaire guaranteeing anonymity for all information shared. Some time later the researcher returned to collect the questionnaires that participants had placed in a sealed envelope. All the data was assigned a coded number and was stored in a safe place where only the researcher and her supervisor had access to it. Data was entered into an SPSS program (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) and analysed using descriptive statistics, with tables and figures generated to display the results.


Once the data was analysed, the researcher discussed her anonymous results with two small focus groups – one involving four extended family members and the other involving two university student friends – making notes from these focus group discussions to further illuminate themes of importance to Emirati families. Notes were taken in Arabic by the principal researcher about themes highlighted during each focus group discussion. The research supervisor sought to guarantee that cultural safety (Fulcher, 2002) was maintained throughout the data collection, analysis, writing up and presentation stages of the research process. This included ensuring that the principal researcher obtained permission from her family about allowing her research project to be re-drafted and presented for peer review by an international journal.

The manuscript was also submitted for additional cultural scrutiny by the parent university to ensure that cultural protocols around dissemination of knowledge were respected. Both the research and its subject matter need to be located within particular social and cultural frames of reference, especially given the many ways in which Western concepts, language and values shape – and sometimes distort – international discourses on child and family welfare (Harrison, 2003).

Finally, this study was limited because of its size to the views offered by a small number of Emirati first wives living in Abu Dhabi using a questionnaire that was not standardized nor validated beyond having face validity. The findings presented here about the impact of polygamyon children were dependent upon reports provided by their mothers. No instrumentation or secondary sources were used to test the reliability of these accounts. Thus, no generalizations can be made from this study about the impact of polygamy on family life in the UAE or elsewhere in the Arab world. The findings may be treated as illuminative, however, pointing to themes worthy of further investigation elsewhere in the world where are polygamous marriages are permitted.


Results

Five of the first wives who participated in this study were aged 20-30 years (20%), four were aged 31-35 years (16%), fourteen were aged 36-40 years (56%) and two were aged 45 or older (8%). One first wife had no formal education (4%), nine had completed elementary school (36%), two had finished preparatory school (8%), seven had attended secondary school (28%) and six had graduated from university (24%). One first wife (4%) did not have children, eight (32%) had 1-4 children, 15 (60%) had 5-9 children and one (4%) had 10 or more children. Twenty-two of the twenty-five first wives in this study were not aware that their husband was going to marry again. Three (14%) learned about the polygamy when their husband told her, eight (32%) when they saw their husband with the second wife, six (23%) learned about their husband’s new marriage from friends, and eight (31%) learned from a family member. None of the women found it easy learning about the new wife. Over half of the first wives (56%) found it difficult when they learned about the polygamy and a similar number (52%) prayed about it. Some of the first wives (12%) talked with their family about it. Just over a third
(36%) felt sad, some (20%) left their house, a third (32%) cried when learning about it and a few (12%) became sick.

About half of the husbands (52%) offered reasons for wanting to marry again but many gave no reasons (48%). Two of the first wives (8%) had histories of illness and another two (8%) of the husbands married again because of marriage problems. Four of the husbands (16%) took a second wife reportedly because of his own personal needs. Nearly three-quarters of the women (72%) said they actively contemplated divorce but were generally patient and decided not to seek a divorce. Twenty-one of the first wives (84%) thought about what might happen to their children after divorce while one (4%) thought about society’s perspective against divorce. Three of the first wives (12%) gave other reasons such as deciding to be patient because their husbands still loved them or because their husband promised to divorce his second wife after two years. All but three of the first wives’ families (84%) disagreed with the polygamy. When asked about how their lives had changed, three women (12%) reported that they now had a better life since their husbands married again while two (8%) reported that life remained the same. More than half the first wives (56%) encountered problems after their husbands married again and six (24%) found they had more responsibilities than before. Five of the first wives (20%) sought help from a counsellor but most (80%) did not. Four visited a counsellor because their children were performing badly at school, getting low grades and were becoming unsociable. One woman visited a counsellor because she faced new family responsibilities after her husband re-married. Only seven first wives (28%) said that they did not face problems after their husbands re-married. Ten women (40%) reported that their husbands demonstrated unfairness between their wives, eight (32%) reported their husbands didn’t care enough about their children, and nine (36%) said the fathers didn’t spend enough time with their children.

Over half of the first wives (52%) reported that their husbands had children from their other wives. When asked how the polygamy had affected their children, four mothers (16%) reported that their children were affected by the polygamy but the rest (84%) said their children were not adversely affected. The mothers in this study went on to report that some of their children experienced emotional (28%), psychological (56%), financial (24%) and social effects (28%). Three out of five mothers (60%) also said the polygamy had impacted their children’s education. Eight mothers (32%) reported that their children had lower grades, six (24%) reported that their children didn’t like to study, one (4%) said her child had experienced failure and ten (40%) gave other explanations about how polygamy had impacted their children’s lives, including dropping out of school. When asked if any changes in their children’s behaviour had been observed, sixteen mothers (64%) said they had not noticed any changes. Nine mothers did notice changes, however, and some reported multiple changes. Three first wives reported more shouting, three said their children had become very quiet and withdrawn, six said their children had become unsociable and five said they had experienced violent episodes. Thus, while most of the mothers reported no adverse effects on their children and had not noticed any changes in their children’s behaviour, a good number identified particular social, emotional and educational effects on their children which they attributed to the polygamy. Only seven mothers (28%) said their children had experienced changes in their dealings with their father. The rest (72%) said that their children’s relationship with their father continued as before. Fifteen mothers (60%) said that their children’s fathers spent less than two hours per week with his family, three (12%) said that the fathers spent 2-6 hours and only seven (28%) said the fathers spent time every day with his children. Fifteen mothers (60%) said their children felt jealousy towards their father’s children from other wives. Almost all of the first wives (92%) felt they needed their husband to spend more time with their children. Almost half of the first wives (48%) said the fathers of their children tried to build relationships with their father’s children from different wives. Only three of the women (12%) said the fathers of their children treated their children equally in financial terms.

Eighteen first wives (72%) said their husbands had not dealt with their children equally. Only two mothers (8%) reported that the fathers encouraged their children to be cooperative. Only two of the first wives (8%) said the fathers of their children took them shopping, one (4%) said the father went to the cinema with his children, one (4%) said the father took his children to restaurants and three (12%) said the fathers took his children out to eat together. Ten first wives (40%) said they tried to build a strong relationship between their children and their fathers. In summing up, four of the women (16%) felt that society encouraged first wives to divorce, twenty (80%) felt society expected her to be patient and only one (4%) felt society permitted her to feel jealous.


Discussion

Most of the first wives did not know their husband was going to marry again. Only one or two knew about their husband’s decision and were given clear reasons about why he wanted to marry again, a finding similar to results found in the Kuwait study where sixty-one percent of women accepted polygamy if her husband told her before re-marrying (Abdu Salaam, 1997). Most first wives in this study learned about the new marriage when seeing their husband with the second wife or when learning about it from a family member. This finding prompted angry discussion amongst focus groups of family and friends, most saying when husbands marry again without telling their wives they show disrespect. When learning their husband married again,
many first wife participants said they had had to face this difficulty and prayed about it while only a few talked with family members about it. Some did nothing while others felt sad andfeared for their children’s lives growing up in a polygamous family.

Many of the women never imagined their husbands would be with another woman. Most of
the husbands gave no clear reasons for marrying again, although some said it was because their first wife was sick or because of marriage problems. Some husbands married again because their friends encouraged them or because of what the women described as their husband’s “personal needs”, thereby confirming other research where men were reported to have married a second wife for similar reasons (Lootah, undated).

Some first wives said their husbands married again because they did not accept his ‘bad behaviour’ without explaining what this meant. Most of the first wives considered divorce but did not because of their children, contrasting with Al Mandeel (2000) study which found the main cause of divorce was polygamy.
Upon hearing that her husband had married again, the focus groups thought first wives should think only about their children’s future, in spite of disagreeing with the polygamy. When asked about how their family life had changed when their husband married again, one in four reported facing many new problems and responsibilities, a finding consistent with other UAE research findings that confirmed marriage problems resulted from polygamy (Al Dar-meki, 2001). Few of the UAE first wives visited a counsellor to get help while Zeitou(2001) found that many women sought psychiatric assistance. Focus group members thought it was unnecessary to visit a counsellor since first wives can resolve such issues by themselves,or with the help of sisters or friends. Most first wives wanted to solve their own problems,
perhaps reflecting themes of shyness or cultural inappropriateness about sharing personal problems outside the family. Problems faced by the first wives included the husband’s unfairness between his wives, not caring about his children and not spending enough time with his family, findings consistent with Abd Salaam’s Kuwait study (1997) where seventy-one percent of women said men in polygamous relationships could not be fair between their wives. One is reminded that while Islam encourages men to marry one, two, three or four wives, this is permitted only when the husband can demonstrate fairness between his wives – and without fairness – families are likely to face problems. So long as the husbands demonstrated fairness between their wives, focus group members were generally supportive of polygamous relationships.

The first wives in this study reported that most of their husbands had children from their other wives. Over half of the children were reported to have experienced psychological effects from the polygamy and some faced emotional, financial and social effects. These results are consistent with Al Darmeki’s findings (2001) showing that children from polygamous families experience psychological and social problems. Focus group discussions reinforced the view that polygamy impacts children emotionally and psychologically. Polygamy reportedly affected the educational performance of three out of five children in this study. Almost three quarters
of the mothers said their children had lower grades and didn’t like to study, findings consistent with another UAE study showing how children from monogamous families adjusted to school better than children from polygamous families (Al Khobesi, 2001). Focus group members emphasized that when faced with life problems, children’s school performance was likely to be affected. Several of the children in this study were said to have become unsociable and violent, with some being more prone to shouting while others becoming quieter and withdrawn thus reinforcing Al-Krenawi’s findings that children from polygamous families had
lower self-esteem and experienced a greater sense of loneliness (2001).

Many of the children in this study of polygamous families still dealt with their father as they had done previously although two-thirds of the fathers reportedly spent less than two hours per week with their children thus highlighting the issue of absent fathers (Al Darmeki, 2001). Focus group participants expressed anger about fathers marrying again and spending more time with their new wife or at work. Most children were said to be jealous about their father’s children from other wives. This affected their behaviour and psychological state through feelings that their father had been taken away from them, reinforcing Al Kobesi’s finding that
children from other wives rarely became siblings and were more likely to become enemies (2001). Focus group members generally agreed that they felt jealous because their father had other children from a different wife.

All but one of the first wives thought their husband should spend more time with their children from his first marriage and all thought it was important to think about their children’s lives. About half the fathers in this study tried to build relationships between their children, a small number showing equality around financial matters and about a third demonstrating equality in dealings with their children. Few fathers encouraged their children to be coopera-
tive, went shopping with them or took them out for meals. This suggested that polygamous fathers gave insufficient thought to the needs of their children and the importance of fostering harmony and ensuring fairness amongst both children and their wives. Focus group members reinforced the importance of children having strong relationships with their fathers.

Three out of five first wives did not work to build strong relationships between their children and their father although some believed it was very important for children to respect their father. Two thirds of the first wives were encouraged by society to be patient, a finding similar to results found in Yahya’s (2001) UAE study.

Focus group members thought first wives should be patient because of their children, thereby encouraging others toward good ways. Some suggested that if a husband does not worry about the years he lived with his first wife then first wives should be patient, but the main concern is fairness and first wives and their children are impacted more from polygamy than second wives. One wife commented that husbands should make separate houses for his wives while another chose to live alone without her husband, even though it meant separating the children from their father. A final participant thought when husbands re-marry without clear reasons they steal the rights of their first wife.

Conclusion

This exploratory research examining the impact of polygamy on first wives and their children highlighted the way that few wives were told about their husband’s decision to take another wife. Polygamy was reported to have impacted on their children’s education, social behaviours, identity and sense of self-esteem. Fairness between wives and families was frequently open to question. More worrying was the small amount of time fathers in polygamous families spent with their children. Society and those around the first wife expected her to be patient and not seek professional counselling. Implications for child and family welfare practice point
to the importance of husbands telling their first wife before marrying again, giving clear reasons for his decisions. First wives may think about divorce but they also have to think about their children and how divorce might affect their children. First wives need someone with whom they can talk – a family member, friend or a counsellor – so that they can share their thoughts and feelings about what is happening. Husbands should be encouraged to spend more time with their family, especially after taking another wife, because such absence is likely to
impact negatively on his children’s studies and behaviour. Husbands should also try to build relationships between the children of his different wives so as to limit the unhappiness, sibling rivalry, jealousy and painful relationships that frequently emerge between the children and their mothers. Finally, husbands need to be fair and equal between their wives since, as the Holy Qur’an says: “Marry women of your choice two, or three, or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to treat justly with them, then only one... That will be more suitable to prevent
you from evil” (Qur’an, 4:3).


References

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Authors notes


Mariam Sultan Abdulla Al-Shamsi
BSc Graduate
Zayed University
College of Family Sciences
Abu Dahbi
United Arab Emirates

Fulcher, Leon C.
MSW, PhD, Student Affairs Consultant
United Arab Emirates University
Al Ain
United Arab Emirates


Mailing Address for correspondence:
Leon C. Fulcher
MSW, PhD
Student Affairs Consultant
United Arab Emirates University
P.O. BOX 15551
Al Ain
United Arab Emirates
+07510 338-4882
Leon.Fulture@uaeu.ac.ae

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Some of the Research on Polygamy

I'd like to thank Dr. Susan Stickevers for her dedication to researching the effect the human rights abuse of polygamy has on women and children, worldwide.

Not only is there more, there is a lot more where this came from. If anyone would like a list of papers written on the effects of polygamy on women, please shoot us an email. We are also working on a dedicated page on the AAAP website to list links to this research.


A Comparison of Family Functioning, Life and Marital Satisfaction, and Mental Health of Women in Polygamous and Monogamous Marriages
Alean Al-Krenawi
Ben-Gurion University
John R. Graham
University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
Background: A considerable body of research concludes that the polygamous family structure has an impact on children’s and wives’ psychological, social and family functioning.
Aims: The present study is among the first to consider within the same ethnoracial community such essential factors as family functioning, life satisfaction, marital satisfaction and mental health functioning among women who are in polygamous marriages and women who are in monogamous marriages.
Method: A sample of 352 women participated in this study: 235 (67%) were in a monogamous marriage and 117 (33%) were in a polygamous marriage.
Results: Findings reveal differences between women in polygamous and monogamous marriages. Women in polygamous marriages showed significantly higher psychological distress, and higher levels of somatisation, phobia and other psychological problems. They also had significantly more problems in family functioning, marital relationships and life satisfaction.
Conclusion: The article calls on public policy and social service personnel to increase public awareness of the significance of polygamous family structures for women’s wellbeing.
The Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 148, Number 6 / December 2008

Psychosocial and Familial Functioning of Children From Polygynous and Monogamous Families
Alean Al-Krenawi and Vered Slonim-Nevo
Ben-Gurion University
Abstract: A sample of 352 Bedouin Arab children— 174 from monogamous and 178 from polygynous families—participated in this study. The authors used standardized measures to assess the participants’ level of self-esteem, mental health, social functioning, father-child relationships, mother-child relationships, and family functioning. The findings revealed that children from polygynous families reported more mental health and social difficulties as well as poorer school achievement and poorer relationships with their fathers than did their counterparts from monogamous families. In addition, the children from polygynous families rated their families’ functioning and economic status as poorer than did those of monogamous families. Thus, the authors suggest that a polygynous family structure negatively affects the family’s socioeconomic status and interpersonal relationships and impairs the children’s psychological and social functioning. The authors discuss implications for practice and policy.
International Journal of Social Psychiatry, Vol. 52, No. 1, 5-17 (2006)

Behavioral Problems and Scholastic Adjustment among Children from Polygamous and Monogamous Marital Family Structures: Developmental Considerations
Elbedour S, Onwuegbuzie AJ, Alatamin M.
Department of Human Development and Psychoeducational Studies, School of Education, Howard University, Washington, DC 20059, USA.
Participants were 255 3rd-grade children. One hundred fifty-three children came from monogamous families that were characterized by 1 wife (i.e., 1-wife families), and 102 children came from polygamous families consisting of 2 wives (i.e., 2-wife families). Teachers completed the Teacher’s Report Form of the Child Behavior Checklist (T. M. Achenback, 1991). A series of logistic regression analyses, after adjusting for maternal education level, revealed that 2-wife children tended to have higher levels of externalizing problems in general and higher levels of attention problems in particular than did their 1-wife counterparts. Also, 2-wife children had higher rates of school absenteeism and lower levels of overall academic achievement than did 1-wife children.

Women from Polygamous and Monogamous Marriages in an Out-Patient Psychiatric Clinic
Alean Al-Krenawi
Ben-Gurion University, Israel
Female subjects were interviewed using a semi-structured open-ended questionnaire. The subjects were divided into two groups: (1) senior wives in polygamous marriages and (2) wives in monogamous marriages. There was a greater prevalence of various symptoms among polygamous respondents, two of which are of particular interest: low self-esteem and loneliness. Findings also showed a relationship between a high number of female children among polygamous respondents and low self-esteem. Polygamous respondents who thought that they were perceived as old by their husbands also reported low self esteem. In addition, respondents from polygamous marriages reported poor relationships with their husbands. Implications for further research and intervention are discussed. Transcultural Psychiatry, Vol. 38, No. 2, 187-199 (2001)
WOMEN OF POLYGAMOUS MARRIAGES
IN PRIMARY HEALTH CARE CENTERS
Alean Al-Krenawi, Ph.D, Ben Gurion University
ABSTRACT: Clinical implications for working with polygamous families are discussed following a report of research among a sample of 126 women from polygamous marriages who were being seen in primary health care centers. Of these, 94 were senior wives who were followed by another wife in the marriage, and 32 were junior wives, the most recent wife joining the marriage. Data revealed that senior wives reported lower self-esteem as compared to junior wives. Findings also showed that senior wives reported poorer relationships with their husbands compared to their junior counterparts.
These factors also contribute to the senior wife’s low self-esteem and marital dissatisfaction.
Contemporary Family Therapy, 21(3), September 1999, Human Sciences Press, Inc.
Journal of Nervous & Mental Disorders 1985 Jan;173(1):56-58.
Women of Polygamous Marriages in an Inpatient Psychiatric Service in Kuwait.
Chaleby K.
The practice of polygamy, although varying from culture to culture, is widespread in many areas of the world. In Kuwait, for example, 8 to 12.5% of all marriages contracted are polygamous. Although sociologists and anthropologists, as well as common sense, have suggested that a polygamous marriage may have a negative effect on the wives involved, an extensive literature search failed to uncover any psychiatric research that attempts to examine this situation or objectively delineates possible psychiatric sequelae. The present study was a pilot effort to determine whether Kuwaiti wives of polygamous marriages were disproportionately represented in the inpatient psychiatric as opposed to the general population. A second purpose was to determine the extent of the relationship between psychiatric disorder and marital situation. Preliminary data indicated that the percentage of wives of polygamous marriages was significantly greater in the inpatient psychiatric population than in the general population of Kuwait, as reflected in the 1975 census. 25% of those admitted for inpatient psychiatric treatment in Kuwait between 1975 – 1985 were polygamous wives.(less than 10% of all married women in Kuwait were in polygamous marriages in that time period). In addition, the results suggested a relationship between the nature of psychiatric disorder and the marital situation.

Emotional distress and its correlates among Nigerian women in late pregnancy
FO Fatoye 1, AB Adeyemi 2 and BY Oladimeji 1
1Department of Mental Health, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
Address for correspondence: FO, Fatoye, Department of Mental Health, College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria fofatoye@yahoo.com


A cross-sectional study was carried out in a Teaching Hospital to compare women in late pregnancy and matched controls for emotional distress. Each of the 156 pregnant women was matched with a control and studied to determine the relationship of some obstetric and sociodemographic factors with anxiety and depression. All the subjects were evaluated using the state form of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-state) and the Zung's Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS), which are standardised instruments for assessing depression and anxiety, respectively. The pregnant women had significantly higher levels of anxiety and higher levels of depression than their non-pregnant controls. Four of the factors evaluated (age, level of education, socio-economic status and parity) were not found to be significantly related to anxiety or depression among the pregnant women. However, four other factors, i.e. polygamy, previous abortions, mode of previous delivery (caesarean section and instrumentally-assisted delivery) and previous puerperal complications had positive and significant associations with anxiety and depression. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Taken from the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
2004, Volume 24 (5) pp 504 - 508


Socio-demographic correlates of psychiatric morbidity among low-income women in Aleppo, Syria
Wasim Maziak , , a, Taghrid Asfarb, Fawaz Mzayekc, Fouad M Fouadd and Nael Kilziehe
a Georg Forster Fellow, Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Domagkstr. 3 48129 Munster, Germany
b General Practitioner, Al-Shahba, 3rd St., Aleppo, Syria
c Head of training, Aleppo Directorate of Health, Aleppo PO Box 12782, Aleppo, Syria
d Director, Primary Health Care, Aleppo Directorate of Health, PO Box 246, Aleppo, Syria
e Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Washington, VAPSHCS, Mental Health Service (116-M), American Lake Division, Tacoma, WA 98493, USA
Available online 25 March 2002.
Abstract
Interest in mental morbidity as an important component of health is increasing worldwide. Women generally suffer more than men from common mental disorders, and discrimination against women adds to their mental sufferings. Studies looking into the socio-demographic correlates of women's mental morbidity are lacking in most Arab countries. In this study we wanted to determine the spread and socio-demographic correlates of mental distress among low-income women in Aleppo, Syria. A sample of 412 women was recruited from 8 randomly selected primary care centers in Aleppo. Response rate was 97.2%, mean age of participants 28+8.4 years, where married women constituted 87.9%. A special questionnaire was prepared for the study purpose, utilizing the SRQ-20 non-psychotic items and questions about background information considered relevant to the mental health of women in the studied population. Interviews were conducted in an anonymous one-to-one fashion. The prevalence of psychiatric distress in our sample was 55.6%. Predictors of women's mental health in the logistic regression analysis were; physical abuse, women's education, polygamy, residence, age and age of marriage. Among these predictors, women's illiteracy, polygamy and physical abuse were the strongest determinants of mental distress leading to the worse outcomes. Our data show that mental distress is common in the studied population and that it is strongly associated with few, possibly modifiable, factors.
Taken From : Social Science & Medicine
Volume 54, Issue 9, May 2002, Pages 1419-1427
Taken from :
Z Psychosom Med Psychoanal. 1981 Apr-Jun;27(2):180-91
Family therapy in polygamous families
Ebigho PO, Onyeama WP, Ihezue UH, Ahanotu AC.
Patients from polygamous families are over-represented in the Enugu Psychiatric Hospital. The authors came to this conclusion after case notes from 116 anxiety neurotic, 101 schizophrenic and 117 depressive patients were examined. The patients were treated from 1970 to 1979. Polygamy was shortly described with its advantages and disadvantages. Competition between the wives, over-burdening of the husband and often poor care of the children represent the background for the symptoms of the patients, who come from such families. Looking for useful therapeutic methods the method of the natives to solve family quarrels were viewed. Making use of psychoanalytic therapy models especially as represented by Dührssen, Richter and Toman a family therapy model was presented which takes the native judgment model into consideration.
Mental health aspects of Turkish women from polygamous versus monogamous families.
Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2006; 52(3):214-20 (ISSN: 0020-7640)
Ozkan M; Altindag A; Oto R; Sentunali E
Dicle University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Diyarbakir, Turkey.
BACKGROUND: Polygamy is illegal in Turkey, but is common among rural villagers in the southeastern region. Polygamous marriage may have a negative effect on the wives involved. AIM: The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of the relationship between psychiatric disorder and polygamous marriage. METHOD: The mental status of 42 senior and 46 junior wives from polygamous marriages and 50 wives from monogamous marriages was evaluated using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders (SCID-I) and Somatoform Dissociation Questionnaire (SDQ). RESULTS: There was a statistically significant difference among senior, junior and monogamous wives in terms of the prevalence of somatization disorder. The prevalence of somatization disorder was the highest in polygamous senior wives. The mean total SDQ scores differed significantly among the three groups. It was the highest in senior wives. CONCLUSIONS: It is clear that the participants from polygamous families, especially senior wives, reported more psychological distress. It is essential to increase awareness of the significance of polygamous family structures among psychiatrists and other therapists.
Mental health aspects of Arab-Israeli adolescents from polygamous versus monogamous families.
J Soc Psychol. 2002; 142(4):446-60
Al-Krenawi A; Graham JR; Slonim-Nevo V
The authors considered the mental health consequences of polygamy in a sample of 101 Arab Muslim adolescents (19 from polygamous and 82 from monogamous families) at Juarish (Ramla), Israel. The respondents completed the Self-Esteem Scale (SE; M. Rosenberg, 1979), the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI; L. Derogatis & N. Melsavados, 1983; L. Derogatis & P. Spencer, 1982), and the McMaster Family Assessment Device (FAD; N. B. Epstein, M. N. Baldwin, & D. S. Bishop, 1983). The respondents from polygamous families had lower SE scores, statistically significant higher scores in 2 BSI dimensions, higher scores in all other BSI dimensions, and higher levels of self-reported family dysfunction. The respondents from polygamous families reported lower levels of socioeconomic status, academic achievement, and parental academic attainment.
Title: The psychosocial profile of Bedouin Arab women living in polygamous and monogamous marriages.
Author: Al-Krenawi A; Slonim-Nevo V
Source: Families in Society. 2008 Jan-Mar;89(1):139-149.
Abstract: This study examining the psychosocial profile of Bedouin Arab Women living in polygamous and monogamous marriages found that women in polygamous marriages reported lower levels of self-esteem and higher levels of somatization, depression, anxiety, hostility, paranoid ideation, more problematic family functioning, less marital satisfaction, and more problematic mother-child relationships than women in monogamous marriages. The sample consisted of 315 women, 156 from polygamous and 159 from monogamous families. The respondents completed the Self-Esteem scale (SE), The Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), The McMaster Family Assessment Device (FAD), The Enrich questionnaire and the Index of Parental Attitudes. The polygamous family structure and the economic difficulties apparently constitutes a substantial contribution to the polygamous household's impaired family functioning.


Factors associated with depressive symptoms among postnatal women in Nepal
Signe Dørheim Ho-Yen 1,2†, Gunnar Tschudi Bondevik 1, Malin Eberhard-Gran 3 and Bjørn Bjorvatn 1
1Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, Section for General Practice, University of Bergen, Norway
2Division of Psychiatry, Stavanger University Hospital, Norway
3Division of Mental Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Norway
†Correspondence: Signe Dørheim Ho-Yen, Division of Psychiatry, Stavanger University Hospital, PO Box 8100, NO-4068, Stavanger, Norway sdhy@sus.no


Background. Depression after childbirth affects both the mother and her infant. In South-Asia, maternal depression might also contribute to poor infant growth. Knowledge of risk factors could improve the health workers’ recognition of depression. Aim. To examine possible risk factors for depression in the postnatal period among women in one clinical, one urban and one rural population in Lalitpur district, Nepal. Method. A total of 426 postnatal women were included in a cross-sectional structured interview study, 5–10 weeks after delivery. Depressive symptoms were measured by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale [EPDS]. Results. Multivariate analysis showed that depression (EPDS >12) was strongly associated with husband's alcoholism, polygamy and previous depression. Other significant factors were stressful life events, multiparity, smoking and depression during pregnancy. There was a non-significant trend of lower depressive scores among women living in arranged marriages, and among women practicing the tradition of staying in their maternal home after delivery.
Taken from :
Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
2007, Vol. 86, No. 3, Pages 291-297

Factors influencing the quality of life of infertile women in United Arab Emirates
G. M. Khayata , , a, D. E. E. Rizkb, M. Y. Hasanc, S. Ghazal-Aswadb and M. A. N. Asaada
a Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tawam Hospital, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates
b Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates
c Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates
Available online 24 January 2003.
Abstract
Objectives: To measure the quality of life in a representative sample of infertile women and evaluate their sociocultural attitude to this condition. Methods: Two hundred sixty-nine infertile women attending the Assisted Reproduction clinic, Tawam Hospital were consecutively selected. They were interviewed about the effect of infertility on their quality of life using a structured, measurement-specific and pre-tested questionnaire. Results: Parameters mostly affected were mood-related mainly in women > 30 years old, with primary and female factor infertility and those in polygamous marriages expressing higher levels of dissatisfaction. Quality of life did not affect sexual performance and was not affected by duration of infertility or cost of treatment. Conclusion: The results highlight the importance of bearing children and the stresses exerted on infertile women in Eastern societies. Thorough counseling and continuing support of infertile women is therefore indicated to improve their quality of life.
Title: Violence against women
Author: Maziak W
Source: Lancet. 2002 Jul 27;360:343-344.
Abstract: In this letter to the editor, Wasim Maziak commends the publishing of articles on violence against women, given this issue of The Lancet on the serious implications of women's health and well- being. Maziak also details findings of a study on 412 Syrian women. Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are mentioned as the most frequent mental health sequelae of intimate- partner violence. Women of polygamous marriages were 2•3 times more likely to report physical abuse than were women in monogamous marriages in Syria.
Psychiatric morbidity and its sociodemographic correlates among women in Irbid, Jordan

T.K. Daradkeh,1 A. Alawan,2 R. Al Ma’aitah3 and S.A. Otoom4
A total of 2000 women participated in the project. Their ages ranged from 18 to 85 years with a mean of 32.1 years
The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) was the first mental health diagnostic test that could be entirely self-administered by the patient and is 85% effective in suggesting the presence of a mental health problem [12]. The physician applies algorithms to make the final diagnosis and the PHQ simplifies the differential diagnosis by assessing only 8 disorders. These are divided into “threshold disorders” corresponding to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) diagnoses (e.g. major depression, panic disorders, other anxiety and bulimia nervosa) and “subthreshold disorders” (e.g. other depressive disorders, probable alcohol abuse, and somatoform and binge-eating disorders). If a patient scores positive for any problems they are asked: “How difficult have these problems made it for you to do your work, take care of things at home, or get along with other people?”
Our findings with regard to the prevalence of mental disorders in polygamous marriages showed an interesting pattern. Overall, 42.9% of women in polygamous marriages suffered mental disorders compared with 26.7% of first and only wives. Further analysis suggested that polygamous marriage has a very deleterious effect on mental health for second wives. We have no clear explanation for such observations. Our results provide strong evidence for the deleterious effect of this practice on women consenting to be the second wife in already established marriages.
Taken from: The World Health Organization : The Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal Volume 12, Supplement 2 (electronic)ou