Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Nauseatingly Sexist Practices: Kyrgyzstan Edition

Via dgm, I am directed toward what may be one of the most disgusting practices I've heard about in a while: "grab and go" bridal kidnappings. If I were Kyrgyz, I'd go armed, and I'd do more than choke some guy who tried to nab me. Surely exercising lethal force would be justifiable self defense in such a situation--this is nothing but old fashioned rape. Choice bits:
Families use force to keep the women from leaving or threaten them with curses that still have a powerful impact in this deeply superstitious land. Once a girl has been kept in the home overnight, her fate is all but sealed: with her virginity suspect and her name disgraced, she will find it difficult to attract any other husband.

Brutal as the custom is, it is widely perceived as practical. "Every good marriage begins in tears," a Kyrgyz saying goes.

In Kyzyl-Tuu, a village not far from the capital, even the head man, Samar Bek, kidnapped his wife, Gypara, after she rejected his marriage proposals 16 years ago. [Samar] said he would not object if one of his daughters were kidnapped.

"If the feelings of the man are stronger than the feelings of my daughter, I'll let him take her," he said. "Love comes and goes."
It was sad but not surprising to read that many of these women eventually accept their fates. Stockholm syndrome, anyone?
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