Saturday, March 27, 2004

Take My Wife, Please: Bride Kidnapping

I saw an episode of Frontline: World on Thursday that turned my notion of marriage upside-down. It profiled the custom in the former Soviet country of Kyrgyzstan of men kidnapping their wives. Let me break that down, because I'll bet you don't think I mean what I said. In this country, the custom is for a man to see a woman he likes, go out in a car, kidnap her off the street, drag her home, and force her to marry him. This is not only a popular custom, it's also completely accepted. The documentary even interviewed a woman who was plotting with another family to have her daughter kidnapped. The mother herself was kidnapped as a bride, and sees no problem with it. Check out a summary of the episode for a major case of culture shock. I also found this European article on bride kidnapping which is more sympathic and portrays it in a cultural and historical context. And women in the U.S. complain when American men are too aggressive...
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