Polygamy is widely practiced in Gaza—and the women (or “sister wives”) are not happy about it.
So says Asmaa Al-Ghoul, who has just exposed this practice in an article for Al Monitor. Al-Ghoul is a heroic feminist Palestinian journalist who, in 2009, was fired for her work in which she exposed honor killings on the West Bank and in Gaza; she was harassed, threatened, and nearly arrested by Hamas for this work. I interviewed her at the time by phone and published a series of articles about her.
Now, she reports that polygamy is practiced by both rich and poor in Gaza. Anecdotally, she describes “hostility” and “hatred” between a pair of “sister-wives” who visited a beauty parlor together. She also quotes a financially independent and professionally successful woman who chose to become a second wife but who now says:
Becoming the second wife is the worst decision that a woman can make. She will always live with the guilt of taking what was not hers. In most instances, the second wife discovers that 90% of the things her husband told her about his circumstances and his first wife were lies.
Another woman, a first wife, describes the enormous “pain and humiliation” that she felt when her husband sprang a second wife upon her…