Increase in Violent “Grab and Run” Bride Kidnappings

Geo Beats
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Since many in Kyrgyzstan claim the often coercive practice is tradition and authorities tend to look the other way, bride kidnapping has resulted in almost half of rural marriages even though it’s been illegal since 1994. About two-thirds are without the woman’s consent.

In the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan, marriages were historically arranged by parents until bride kidnapping was made popular under Soviet rule around the mid-1900s. Now, since many claim the often coercive practice is tradition and authorities tend to look the other way, bride kidnapping has resulted in almost half of rural marriages even though it’s been illegal since 1994.

About one-third of the so-called “grab and run” kidnappings happen more as a role-playing event where the man and woman have an existing and consensual romance. About two-thirds of the kidnappings occur without the woman’s consent.

Typically, a man identifies a woman he wants to marry and, along with his friends, drags her into his car or taxi. She is brought to his home where his family prepares for the wedding ceremony. Female elders try to persuade the victim to agree to the marriage.

About 84 percent of women do agree, frequently to avoid disgracing their families as they may no longer be seen as pure. While some women end up happily married, others commit suicide after having been kidnapped or possibly even raped. In addition to increased suicide rates, the practice leads to increases in domestic abuse and divorces.

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