Abstract

The impact of the Christian message on the family’s existential foundation underpins this article. The quest/ion of polygamy has been in public discourse as extramarital affairs where husbands in monogamous unions increasingly “cheat” on wives with mistresses, referred to in modern parlance as “side chicks.” Historically, polygamy assumed a new turn when Western culture became Christian virtue, thus a civilizing “norm.” The demonization of polygamy stirred converted-husbands to divorce all wives except one. This article uses multidisciplinary approaches to theologize and interrogate the impact of Christian encounters on the culture of Benin City, Nigeria. I argue that the family disruption pointedly impacted mothers and created a “new social order” with the commodification of sex and a surge in sex work, workers, traffickers, and trafficking in Benin, and thus it is a form of religious violence. I conclude that the value of African polygamy reasonably exceeds the alternative establishment and proliferation of divorce or serial relationships situated within the “civilizing” Western culture.

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