Kyrgyzstan: Bride Theft Custom Fuels Divorce Rate
“We want to make people understand that bride-stealing is a crime, not a tradition,” said a woman working at a crisis centre, one of several groups trying to change social attitudes about the custom.
IWPR reporter Janar Akaev also interviewed Jumagul-Eje, a woman who is planning to arrange for a bride to be kidnapped so her son can get married.
“If the lad steals the bride it works out a lot cheaper – four pillows and four blankets [gift for bride’s family], and that’ll do fine," she said in justification. "But if you arrange it, the costs will be much higher, at list 30,000 or 40,000 soms [up to 950 US dollars] as the ‘bride-price’, and that’s the minimum.”
Other villagers, too, said the custom had worked for them, and after some initial friction between the two families, things had settled down.
6 April 2009
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