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Swaziland's King has chosen a 17-year-old girl to become his 11th wife

Posted by Sharon W on 8/25/03 at 13:30 (127920)

At the risk of sparking another controversial thread... When I read something like this, it really disgusts me. Why does the world just seem to ignore these things? How can we sugar-coat what is being done to these girls by attributing it to 'cultural differences'? These teenage girls are given NO CHOICE...



Re: Swaziland's King has chosen a 17-year-old girl to become his 11th wife

Dorothy on 8/25/03 at 15:16 (127936)

It is sickening. Sometimes it is difficult to know what to do with the disgust and anger that information like this arouses. You can write letters, donate to pertinent groups etc... but there is a news item I read recently that actually was a good counter to so much of the hideous and disgusting stuff that happens to women in Africa. Some women in Liberia have banded together and they are armed; they have formed a kind of women's militia to protect themselves and other women against the assaults they have had to endure. This is not about choosing sides in Liberia's internal fights; it is about fighting against the brutalization and exploitation of the women and girls there. All females in Liberia and in other warring countries in Africa, regardless of age, are treated in the most inhumane, obscene ways. The actions of this women's group in Liberia came out of desperation, but they are encouraging. It is Armed Dignity and Defiance and it sounded like justice, reading about it.
Please understand that I know full well that there are many, many accounts of women in these African conflicts acting just as horrifically as men. It was just this story out of Liberia that was different - and I hope it is as it was described in the article.
You are so right. And when we talk about the seemingly intractibility of the problems in the Middle East, think about Africa. Good grief - what about Africa.

Re: Swaziland's King has chosen a 17-year-old girl to become his 11th wife

Peter R on 8/25/03 at 15:26 (127938)

LONG LIVE THE KING OF SWAZILAND- He'll be punished- with 11 wives he has 22 dementors- 11 wives and 11 mothers-in-law. If that doesn't suck all the happiness out of him nothing will.

Re: Swaziland's King has chosen a 17-year-old girl to become his 11th wife

marie on 8/25/03 at 16:01 (127941)

I wish there was a way to interview the 17 year old he has selected for his next wife. I wonder what she is thinking and feeling right now. My guess would be Ewww...YUK! I don't understand any culture that takes away someone's choice, but the right not to choose your own partner is unthinkable.

We use to have some neighbors from India. For the most part Indian marriages are pre-arranged but some of the modern families do give their children time to find another suitable partner on their own. Our neighbor was a Uralogist about 45 and his marriage was pre-arranged. His first wife was very unhappy in this country and committed suicide. She set herself on fire on a roadside near our neighborhood. It was terrible. Her selection of fire is part of their culture. Part of the contract has a provision that if the first wife dies than the man gets the youngest daughter as a replacement. In less then 2 weeks there was a new bride. She looked all of 15. They have one son. He is 19 now.

I may have told a story about how I had to carry two people away from a car accident...it was she and her son.

I have another friend from India, Amina, whose marriage was pre-arranged. She is very happy and her daughter and son are both committed to a prearranged marriage, but they are allowed time to find another suitable partner. My oldest son has had a crush on Sophie forever. He was unhappy when he found out that she was engaged at age 5.

I asked Amina what it was like to have a pre-arranged marriage. She told me that she met her husband at 18 on their wedding day. She knew nothing about sex so it was all a bit intimedating. I would tell you more about her wedding night but it's probably censored material. She is very much in love with her husband and doesn't understand what the fuss is about pre-arranged marriages.

Not all Indians still practice pre-arranged marriages as so much of the Western culture has influenced the younger generation. My son's close friend at college is from India. He has not been committed to a pre-arranged marriage. He has long hair and plays guitar and loves Dominos Pizza. He is studying to be a mechanical engineer. He did tell my son he could have one of his sisters as he has to many. That got my son's attention.

Re: Swaziland's King has chosen a 17-year-old girl to become his 11th wife

john h on 8/25/03 at 16:12 (127943)

Sort of a King Henry the XIII sort of guy. I know you think 'he is the man' Peter. How many pair of shoes would 11 wife's require?

Re: Swaziland's King has chosen a 17-year-old girl to become his 11th wife

Kathy G on 8/25/03 at 18:14 (127954)


This is, indeed, an upsetting issue. It is so inbred in their culture that they can't seem to change. While the civilized world stands by in shock, they think what they're doing is just fine. Until we can convince them that what they are doing is wrong, I see no solution. I truly believe that whole African nations will be completely wiped out by the AIDS virus.

Somewhat related was the upsetting article I read recently about life for women over in Iraq. When Saddam was in power, they had to fear Uday, but they were at least going to school. Now, due to an increase in rapes, more and more young women are staying home. There is currently no police force to punish the rapists and these women face the possibility, if they are raped, that their own family will kill them so that they won't bring shame to the family. In some cases, the rapist is allowed to marry the victim to avoid shame. Can you believe it?

I found the article so shocking I read it over a couple of times and even read it out loud to my husband to see if I was understanding it correctly.

These are humanitarian concerns that transcend politics.

Re: Swaziland's King has chosen a 17-year-old girl to become his 11th wife

Peter R on 8/27/03 at 07:24 (128128)

Hey a gallon of gasoline at the side of the road is a real cheap divorce although if she used high test it would be about $2.15.9 these days. I'll bet the divorce lawyers in India want the husbands to pay for the gasoline and the match.

Re: Swaziland's King has chosen a 17-year-old girl to become his 11th wife

marie on 8/27/03 at 15:31 (128171)