A mother and daughter have sex with the same man! It is hard to believe, but it's a necessity for women in one Bangladesh tribe. Check out the scary story of Orola Dalbot, 30.
Orola Dalbot's father died when she was small, and her mother remarried soon after. Noten, a stepfather, was handsome and energetic. "I thought my mother was lucky," Orola says. "I hoped I'd find a husband like him one day." But soon Orola learned the truth: she was already Noten's wife.
Her wedding had taken place when she was a 3-years-old girl in a joint ceremony with her mother. It was the tribute to the tradition of the Mandi tribe, an ethnic group of about two million people spread across hill regions of Bangladesh and India. "I wanted to escape when I found out," says Orola. "I was shaking with disbelief."
Now her family members are: her 51-year-old mother Mittamoni, her stepfather and husband Noten, 42, her maternal grandmother and an assortment of children ranging from babies to teenagers, fathered by Noten with both his wives.
Orola says: "For years, I wanted to talk to someone about it because I was lonely. I felt trapped, like an animal."
But why her mother allowed sharing husband?
"My mother couldn't manage her land and household by herself when my father died of a fever," explains Orola. "She was still in her mid-20s, so she was entitled to claim a new husband as a replacement from my father's clan."
The clan offered their only available bachelor at the time, a 17-years-old Noten. But on the condition he marries Orola, too. According to tradition, the second, younger wife is a trade to ensure the birth of more children to add to the family's overall wealth and power.
"I was too young to remember the wedding. I didn't know it had taken place," Orola says.
"It grew tense when Noten began sleeping with me. My mother knew it was inevitable – she pushed me into Noten's bed when I was 15 to consummate the marriage. But he quickly began to prefer me to her."
The rivalry destroyed their mother-daughter relationship: "She stopped being my parent. I couldn't turn to her for advice anymore."
Her resistance faded when she became pregnant. Now she is the mother of three children with Noten: a boy aged 14, and two girls, aged seven and two. Mittamoni (Orola's mother) has a 17-year-old son with Noten, as well as an older daughter who has already left home.
Parvin Rema, 36, another local woman who shares a husband with her widowed mother, Joyanti. They married an 18-year-old man, Palnat, when Parvin was 13.
"I thought my life was ruined when the wedding took place," says Parvin. "My mother was 36. I didn't understand why she wanted such a young husband." But Parvin quickly used her youth to her advantage. "My mother slept with our husband for the first three years. But when I was old enough, I made sure he lost interest in her. I cooked him curries and never refused him sex." Parvin's mother, Joyanti, was soon ousted. The husband started treating her like his mother-in-law – he was polite but distant.
After a few years Parvin gave birth to a daughter, Nita, who is now 14. Motherhood has brought powerful emotions to the surface. "When I look at Nita, I can't believe my mother forced me into a marriage that set us against each other like that. I feel angry and sad. How could she do that to her daughter?" Parvin is determined to ensure Nita has more life choices. "I want her to go to college, and to decide who and when she marries."
What do you think about this old tradition? Is this fair to young girls?