“Grab and run”

State authorities in Kyrgyzstan are trying to fight practices of bride kidnapping in the country, but some research suggests about a third of all marriages are from kidnapping while the practice has been illegal since 1994. Girls are forced to marry against their will by men and their families. Many believe that bride kidnapping is an ancient Kyrgyz tradition but some researchers argue it became popular only a few decades ago. According to the law a man can get up to 7 years in prison for kidnapping.

Statistics of bride kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan show that 11,800 girls are kidnapped each year. Kidnapped victim said: “In our society, the man is always right.”

 It is possible that every 40 minutes a girl is kidnapped somewhere in Kyrgyzstan

Many know of bride kidnapping as a phenomenon in rural part of Kyrgyzstan. But it sometimes happens even in the relatively liberal Bishkek where there are many immigrants from the countryside.

Tursun, 82 years old woman, who was kidnapped by her husband said, “We don’t like the modern way of kidnapping. When we were young, it was different kidnapping. We knew each other well and exchanged love letters before kidnapping. In present times, young people violently kidnap women and this is not our tradition.”

If you are kidnapped nowadays, it is really difficult to run away after that. The reason is because women don´t have many chances to find another husband in the future. The men in the society don´t believe that the kidnapped victims are still virgins. The woman is shamed for running away from the husband (kidnapper) as well. Everything depends on a case and on the place where it happens. But kidnappings are not only against the will of girls. When she has a boyfriend and parents are against marriage. He can kidnap her and marry her.

The Kidnapper will tell his relatives and all of his family the day he will bring a wife to their house. After that he will plan to marry her. Next, he and his friends will take the kidnapped victim who he has chosen to her “new home”. Everything will be prepared.

The only chance the woman has of being saved from this marriage is by a quick action from her parents and relatives to come to her rescue

The only chance for the a women to avoid the marriage is being rescued by her parents and relatives. Otherwise, the women would be married for a long time since in Kyrgyzstan divorce is not a common thing and it is very difficult for a woman to leave a marriage.

Source: bbc.co.uk, newsweek.com, www.rferl.org and interviews with people in Kyrgyzstan

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