The following story was submitted by an anonymous reader.
I was raised in a polygamist family. When I was two years old, my mother remarried a man who was a polygamist. The reason why my mother remarried was because her former husband’s relatives wanted to kill her. They were mad because the dowry which my father used to pay for my mother was not his. It was supposed to be used for another woman. So, in the new home, I got mistreated from my stepbrothers and sisters, and even the stepmothers.
They mocked me and called me all kinds of different names, saying that I do not belong in their home. They told me that I was not a person but the young of a crane.
I used to fall severely ill due to their mistreatment, but I thank God because He had a plan for me and kept me alive.
When I was 16, I underwent FGM (female genital mutilation). The day they took me to the place of circumcision, they cut off my clitoris and I bled severely, but God spared my life.
My father took dowry from a man, and once I had undergone FGM, I was forced to marry a polygamist. I had no power to refuse, as you can imagine. I was alone, I was the only child from my mother. I had no brother or sisters to stand up for me, and my mother had no say in the family.
So, I got married to a polygamist who had many wives. I had no choice on who would be my husband. I was taken by that man who I am living with up to now. I’ve been experiencing a lot of problems. There is mistrust among the co-wives. We are five wives in total. They sometimes call me a witch because they say I was not born in the family that I’m from.
There is poverty due to the fact that we depend on one man and his income is very low. There is also illiteracy among the children, because of the lack of school fees, the kids are not well educated. There’s also enmity amongst the members of the family – be it the wives or the kids who do not get along well.
There is no permanent plan that I can make with my husband because even if we agree on something today, tomorrow he is away and will only return to me weeks or even a month later. He has to visit the other wives also. There’s no fulfilling love. With five co-wives, we’re getting spoon love. It’s probably even just half a spoon, actually.
I’ve been living in this situation for 23 years. There was a time when we were all staying in the same home, but now each of the women lives in a different home with their children. My matrimonial family has also developed hatred towards me because I have refused to allow my two girls to undergo FGM.
I cry a lot. I’ve also developed some health issues due to stress, but I do read the Bible since it’s God’s holy book. It encourages me a lot.