To have and to hold against her will

Illegally kidnapping brides-to-be is becoming more common in Kyrgyzstan

by Michael Petrou

In Kyrgyzstan, a mountainous and impoverished Central Asian country, up to three-quarters of marriages result from bride kidnapping. Typically, a single young man chooses the woman he wants to marry and then plots her abduction. With the help of friends, he carries her off to his parents’ home, where the women in his family pressure the girl to consent to marriage. It’s officially illegal, but rarely is anyone prosecuted. Once a predominantly rural phenomenon, it is becoming more common in larger cities. Some men wish to avoid paying expensive dowries. Others simply fear rejection. Opposition to bride kidnapping is growing, though, after two kidnapped brides committed suicide last year. There has been at least one public demonstration against the tradition, and now new legislation is working its way through parliament that would increase the potential punishment for kidnapping girls under the age of 17 to 10 years in jail.

That’s more than triple the current maximum legislated punishment—though as noted by Radio Free Europe, which has investigated the practice, it’s still a lesser sentence than one might face in Kyrgyzstan for stealing a cow.




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To have and to hold against her will

  1. And here I thought the Taliban were the only ones still living in the trees.

    Fear of rejection so they kidnap and force someone, need to clean the population out quickly before they spread too far abroad with their ideas.

  2. Does anyone know when this started I am doing a school project on it and i need dates… if anyone could help it would be super greatly appreciated :D

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