Bride Kidnapping In Kyrgyzstan

Issue 20  //  · 

STATISTICS

EVERY 40 MIN A GIRL IS KIDNAPPED TO BE A BRIDE

1 IN 10 GIRLS GET MARRIED BEFORE THE AGE OF 18

40% OF WOMEN ARE KIDNAPPED BY THEIR HUSBANDS

WHAT IS IT?
Bride kidnapping is illegal in Kyrgyzstan, yet the practice continues and perpetrators are rarely prosecuted because it is accepted as part of tradition. Bride kidnapping was originally a form of ‘planned elopement’ in the face of family opposition, but now, Kyrgyz men say they snatch women because of the fear of rejection, love at first sight, or to show they are truly men. To them, kidnapping a girl is easier than courtship and cheaper than having to pay a bride price.

WHY SHOULD WE CARE?
While there are some who consent to being kidnapped, the majority of kidnapped brides do not enter the marriage willingly. 97% of women end up marrying their abductors, and sadly, 60% of them end in divorce. Furthermore, kidnapped brides are sometimes raped so that they have no choice but to agree to marriage. Even if sexual intercourse does not take place, once a woman has been kept overnight, her virginity is doubted and her honour disgraced. This leaves her with no choice but to marry the man because no one else would want to marry her after that. It is no surprise that girls in this situation, even those who successfully escape their abductors, commit suicide after the kidnapping due to the shame they experience.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
“Ala kachuu”, which translates to “grab and run” is a form of bride kidnapping in which a man abducts the woman he wishes to marry. A young man who decides that he wishes to marry a particular girl may devise a plan with his friends to abduct the girl and take her home. His family is usually in on the plan, and once the girl arrives, the whole home is decorated, food is prepared, and relatives are dressed for a wedding. His family will try to place a white wedding scarf on her head, a symbol of her agreement to the marriage. This struggle can last a few hours, or even days, depending on how much the girl resists. If she attempts to leave, the family will threaten to curse her, which is an effective threat since Kyrgyzstan is a superstitious country.

HOW CAN WE PRAY:
– Greater enforcement of the laws by the government to prevent more girls from being put through the trauma of being kidnapped.
– Kidnapped brides to have supportive and courageous family members who dare to oppose the kidnapping despite it being part of tradition.
– Kidnapped brides to experience God’s peace and comfort through the trauma, and that they will not resort to taking their own life.

Isabel Phua
Isabel love living in Tampines West. She enjoy the neighbourhood so much that she even joined the local community centre to watch a World Cup match in 2018. GOOAAALLL!!!

Hey There

Is this your first time here? Enjoy 10% off your first order when you sign up for our newsletter.