Did you miss the episode of Insight on the topic of polygamy?
Post-controversy yesterday, the three most talked about interview subjects - Marc Glasby and his two partners Belle and Dorothy - went to ground and halted all interviews. And there were plenty of interview requests.
Although it’s outlawed in this country, polygamy is practiced in Australia. In fact, in some indigenous, Muslim and African communities, having more than one wife is a long-standing and legitimate cultural norm.
Insight looked at modern day polygamous relationships, and asked whether polygamy is more natural for humans than traditional monogamy, what it’s like for children growing up in those households, and how the spouses negotiate jealousy.
Watch these clips; this one features Marc and his partners:
And this one, of Dhalulu, an Aboriginal woman:
Dhalulu is an Aboriginal woman who grew up with seven mums, including one who was only five years older than her. Dhalulu thinks it is a really positive thing to live in such a large family, as everybody is able to look out for each other, and you’re never alone. She believes the values and knowledge she received from her seven mums has made her the person she is today. Dhalulu’s husband is a non-indigenous man, so she is the sole partner in that relationship.
If you want to watch the whole show online, go here http://www.sbs.com.au/insight/episode/watchonline/479/Polygamy
More about Belle Glasby and Dorothy Loader: they are identical twin sisters and are both in a relationship with the same man in Perth. Separated at birth, the twins were reunited three years ago. Soon after, Belle’s husband, Marc Glasby, fell in love with Dorothy and the three have lived in a polygamous relationship ever since. The women separately spend alternate nights with Marc. Dorothy and Belle are both Christians and think "God would be pleased that the relationship makes them all so happy."
Other guests on the show included Witiyana Marika is an Aboriginal elder and has two wives. A founding member of Yothu Yindi, Witiyana was raised in Yirrkala, a remote community in the Northern Territory. Witiyana says it is part of aboriginal culture for men to have multiple partners in order to form larger clans and stronger families. He says the women are treated equally and says there were a lot of positives about growing up in a large extended family.
Eman Sharobeem is a psychologist and community worker and believes religion can subjugate women into accepting polygamous relationships. She talks to hundreds of immigrant women each week and says jealousy of “co-wives” in polygamous relationships is a common complaint. She says some women are often driven to the point of mental health breakdowns because of it.
Polygamy is a very normal part of life in the Sierra Leonean community in Australia, according to Tony Kamara. He grew up in a polygamous family, with his father having two wives. He remembers the jealously between the wives and fearing his father would leave his mother for the other wife.
But he also enjoyed having a big family and lots of siblings. Tony doesn’t want a polygamous marriage himself because of the “hassle” of looking after two families.
Fatimah Youssef says polygamy is common in her local Lebanese Muslim community in Sydney. She isn’t in a polygamous relationship but says she sees other women enjoying the benefits of polygamy, such as housework help, financial support and companionship. She says God allows polygamy because God “knew that man was weak” in terms of fidelity.
Insight is hosted by Jenny Brockie and airs every Tuesday at 8.30pm on SBS One. The last episode airs next week.
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