I’m not a big fan of Daily Mail as I believe its poor journalism, but this one story caught my eye- “Kidnapped and dragged to a forced wedding“. I was then horrified when I did further research and found that this is actually an ongoing trend in Kazakhstan. It’s a practice which involves the man abducting any girl he wishes to marry without her consent. The video presented in the article showed a young girl presumably a teenager waking up in car, crying, pleading and then being dragged out by a woman. Women are seen throwing confetti at the girl and there is also a red carpet laid out for her where she falls and stumbles on. The young victim then makes one last final protest before she is dragged inside by two men. The video was hard to stomach, seeing the girl’s terrified facial expression and watch her beg to the many people around her who carry on watching. Of course, it is clear that this practice is a sex crime and many countries have already acknowledged so. However, in countries like Kazakhstan, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa and a few more, this is seen as trend which is a common norm in society.
I still can’t come to terms that such an evil and barbaric practice even exists! Call me naive but I really was so unaware that women and girls were being put through such a demonic act. Many of these girls’ parents agree due to money. They are promised a large sum of money by the groom in return for their daughter’s happiness it seems. Further research implied by 2012 Vice documentary suggested in rural areas of Kyrgyzstan many men marry women the old-fashioned way by abducting them of the street of from their homes and forcing them to become wife’s. This is an ancient custom which has been majorly practiced again since the fall of communism. However, 2011, at least 200 people protested on the streets of Issyk-Kul after two kidnapped women who were forced into marriage committed suicide.
Forcing anyone into marriage I believe is a selfish, immoral and cunning act. We may be in the 21st century but force marriage is still alive and happening even in my own Pakistani community. Most force marriages are violent where the woman is beaten continuously until she agrees. The victim may also be put under house arrest. Emotional blackmail is also a weapon used in force marriage, manipulating the woman’s thoughts and feelings also guilt tripping are also have a powerful effect. What I found so bizarre and so indifferent about the Kazakhstan force marriage custom is that, the bride kidnapping is so in your face. There’s nothing discreet about it. The video shows many people throwing confetti, there is even a videographer filming the horrific ordeal! Most forced marriages are usually kept on the low as the parents don’t want their community suspecting them. The Kazakhstan bride kidnapping trend is clearly seen as normal behavior. No consideration is taken about the victim, no matter how much she cries and begs she has to face her sordid future which has been decided by a stranger who is now her husband.
Even though I feel we’re up against a losing battle here as well after all, this is an ancient custom, but mostly it’s stemmed from poverty. Parents selling daughters, to feed younger siblings. Places like Kazakhstan are deep in poverty and the authorities have a lazy attitude towards it. It’s hard to beat poverty; it’s hard to convince parents not to destroy their child’s life by selling her for a couple of grand’s and it’s hard to educate grooms that what they do is pure evil, when they have grown up with this custom. But we can’t accept defeat altogether, by sharing this post, by spreading it on social media platforms, by telling others who are unaware, we can contribute to raising more awareness. Our voices may not be loud enough to reach the rural villages in Kazakhstan, Kenya, Africa, Peshawar and all the other places where women and girls are being forced into violent, demeaning and loveless marriages. But the more noise we make the more we alert authorities and charities who are unaware, to use their power to put an end to this sex crime.