Polygamy is largely looked down on in Indonesia, where about 86 percent of Muslims oppose it—but the husbands and wives who practice it believe it’s the ideal form of marriage, and they’re ardent about convincing folks to think the same way. Riski Ramdani has dedicated himself to making the controversial arrangement more mainstream, and he’s gathered a pretty passionate following. But he’s still facing harsh, widespread criticism that polygamy, at its core, is just a form of abuse.
VICE Indonesia met up with Ramdani, his two wives, and their children in West Java for a look inside their unconventional marriage, and to hear why they support the practice, as well as the struggles they face. Then we spoke to a scholar who studies polygamy and a woman who left her polygamist marriage to hear how—for many women—the practice can be traumatizing.