Footage of a Kazakh woman apparently being kidnapped and dragged into the house of her future husband has surfaced online.
The video shows the woman being pulled out from a car and forced to enter the house of the man who wants to marry her.
Some people take pictures and videos as the girl cries and refuses to get off the car, while neighbours look on with curiosity.
When the girl is dragged into the new house, women throw petals and confetti on her.
The video, entitled Stealing the Bride, depicts an ancient tradition still practised in several countries in central Asia, Africa and South America, according to which future brides are abducted by friends of the husband-to-be.
During the kidnapping, women cry and beg to be released and when they reach the house of the men who want to marry them, they are pressurised to accept the marriage and celebrate with the new family.
Local women’s rights activist Anfisa Zuyeva called the practice “barbaric and “evil”.
She told the Daily Mail that bride kidnapping “forces young girls into loveless marriages with men they hardly know.
“Often the families of the victims agree because the groom pays them a lot of money. But it is an outdated and horrific tradition which has no place in modern Kazakhstan.”
A 2012 Vice documentary shed light on the issue, which is considered by many as a sex crime.
The documentary features interviews with people in Kyrgyzstan who still practice bride kidnapping.
“In rural Kyrgyzstan men still marry their women the old-fashioned way: by abducting them off the street and forcing them to be their wife,” Vice said. “Bride kidnapping is a supposedly ancient custom that’s made a major comeback since the fall of Communism and now accounts for nearly half of all marriages in some parts.”
In 2011, at least 200 people took to the streets of Issyk-Kul , a northern province of Kyrgyzstan, to protest the longstanding practice, after two kidnapped women forced into marriage committed suicide.
Gazbubu Babayarova, founder of Kyz Korgon Institute, an NGO in Kyrgyzstan aimed at preventing non-consensual marriage and providing assistance to kidnapped wives, said: “Once bride-kidnapping was characteristic mostly to rural areas, but it has become widespread everywhere, including the capital, Bishkek.
“Sometimes, boys are afraid of asking the girls’ permission. They think it’s easier just to kidnap her, because they are afraid maybe she will refuse.
“Another reason is that even if there is a law, it’s not being implemented. Since the kidnappers go unpunished, bride-kidnapping is happening again and again.”
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