Horrible tradition: Bride kidnapping still tolerated in many countries

It was a perfectly normal, sunny day. The streets in the city center were busy, people waited for buses, shuffled down the sidewalk, did their shopping, and went about their daily routines.

Two young women were chatting at a bus stop when a black sedan pulled up. A group of young men jumped out and headed for the two women. Suddenly they grabbed one of them and carried her kicking and screaming back to their car...

The whole scene appears to be some kind of strange dream or a bad joke. But for thousands of young women around the world this kind of scenario is exactly the fate they suffer. It's called "bride kidnapping" and it's a so-called "tradition" that is still practiced in some countries in central Asia. There are no official statistics that reveal just how rampant the problem is, but human rights organizations estimate that around 12,000 women are kidnapped every year in Kyrgyzstan alone.

But how is this possible? It might be hard to believe, but these women usually have no idea who their kidnappers are. The men simply watch from afar and wait for their opportunity to take the women against their will and force them into marriage. For the kidnappers it's their chance to prove that they're "real men" and can take what they want. The more brash the kidnapping, the more recognition the men can expect to receive for their "manly" act of dominance. In some cases this has even led some to kidnap girls right out of school or from their place of work.

In most cases the woman is brought to live with her kidnapper and his relatives who all try to convince her that she should be happy and grateful for being "chosen." These women are often raised in an environment where they are taught to obey men and their elders, leaving them unable to effectively resist their kidnappers.

To make matters worse, in up to 80% of cases, the victim's family is convinced to consent to the marriage. They often feel that they have no choice because they believe that no one else will want to marry the woman after she has been "claimed" by a kidnapper.

Politicians and human rights activists continually try to educate the population to the fact that bride kidnapping is actually a crime that often leads to sexual abuse, domestic violence, and suicide. But as the video shows, most people still don't take it seriously. In fewer than 0.5% of cases do relatives or witnesses contact the authorities. The question is: why? In cultures where this type of crime is still tolerated, there is a deeply held belief that girls secretly dream about being forced into marriage and their screams and tears are simply for show...

But there is hope. Throughout the world human rights organizations are working hard to end this "tradition" and you can do your part by signing this petition. Every vote makes a difference!




Also hefty