As The World Welcomes Equality For Women, Kyrgyzstan Is Still Rife With Bride Kidnapping

Photo by TheClever

It really is a bad time to be female in Kyrgyzstan right now, even if you are a foreigner. You see, women there get kidnapped by men all the time to become their brides. That is how a lot of people get married there, by kidnapping their brides, with parental consent nonetheless. How is this still happening in the age of Facebook and CCTV cameras? Tradition, something the Kyrgyzstan law enforcement somehow condones.

Apparently, kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan is still illegal, as per their Islamic and government laws. However, the Kyrgyz people, particularly the provincial ones, are still bound by their ancient tradition of bride kidnapping. In it, the man chooses his girl and gets his parents’ and his friends’ to help him kidnap her. The unwitting and unfortunate bride will then be subdued and violently carried off.

Then, the mother of the kidnapper will try to convince the kidnapped girl to agree to the marriage. Surprisingly, their mothers were also a product of such a tradition. Here’s a feature about it:

The result? One woman in Kyrgyzstan gets abducted every 30 to 40 minutes, several of the abducted wives commit suicide each year and those who don’t kill themselves outright live a life of imprisonment or denial in the hands of their stranger abductors and their family.

One such incident of bride kidnapping even turned deadly where the kidnapper murdered the woman after she strongly refused the forced marriage twice.

However, studies revealed that the tradition of bride kidnapping became mandatory, violent, and rampant just recently after Kyrgyzstan gained independence from the Soviet Union in the early ’90s. After that, poverty somehow worsened and the abusive bride kidnappings became more common.

As for those wondering why the women simply don’t refuse their captors, there is an attached social stigma to those who were kidnapped and refused marriage, even the family of the kidnapped woman will likely shun her if she practiced free will. This sort of criminal tradition also appears to be worsening each year, with more and more women committing suicide after forced marriages with strangers.

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