Sunday, October 7, 2012

An Example of How Anti-Equality Hurts Bystanders

An advice column in Kenya, written by Phlip Kitoto, printed several letters, leading off with this one...

Hi Philip,
My wife is secretive and reserved. We got married three years ago. We have no children but she has had three miscarriages. When we were in college, my wife’s older brother used to send her love messages almost every night and this caused a lot of conflict between us.
She said her brother only wanted to ruin our relationship. The trend continued until I reported the issue to their mother, other brothers, and sister, after which he changed to late night calls.
What is surprising is that four years ago, my wife had a child with the brother who used to send her romantic messages. She only told me about the child in March of this year, but claimed that the boy’s father had died shortly after he was born
What should I do because her niece, who lives with us, has confirmed to me that the boy was fathered by my wife’s brother? The child is currently living with us and I am very stressed.
Maybe it's a cultural thing, but tf the letter-writer had a problem with how his wife-to-be was handling the situation with her brother, the letter-writer should have broken it off with her, rather than complaining to everyone else in the family. That being said, it appears the woman involved married the letter-writer under false pretenses. Since others knew, the truth as bound to come out. Either the relationship between brother and sister was over, or it continues.

If it was over, she should have explained that and said that her brother was having a difficult time moving on. The letter-writer could either accept her past or move on. If he couldn't accept her past, it would be better if he did move on so that she could find someone who could accept her.

If it continues, as implied by the ongoing secrecy, the ideal thing would be to explain that it was still going on, and the letter-writer could have either accepted that he was going to be legally married to a woman whose heart would first belong to someone else, or moved on.

The problem is, the circumstances are not ideal. People face discrimination, bullying, even prosecution for being in consanguinamorous relationships. As a result, most people keep those relationships a secret from everyone or all but a handful of people, and sometimes other people are unknowingly used as "beards," as could be happening to this letter-writer. This also still happens with gays and lesbians living in places where they can't be open about their sexual orientation. If we simply supported the rights of an adult, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with any consenting adults, everyone would be better off.

So, while she married under false pretenses one way or another, I do not judge her because ridiculous prejudices and bigotries put her in a very difficult position.

Thankfully, the columnist did not tell the letter-writer to rat them out to law enforcement.
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