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Bride kidnapping

Bride kidnapping

Overview

Bride kidnapping, also known as marriage by abduction or marriage by capture, is a practice throughout history and around the world in which a man abducts the woman he wishes to marry. Bride kidnapping still occurs in countries spanning Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

, the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 region, and parts of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, and among peoples as diverse as the Hmong
Hmong people
The Hmong , are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Hmong are also one of the sub-groups of the Miao ethnicity in southern China...

 in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, the Tzeltal
Tzeltal people
The Tzeltal people are the largest indigenous group mostly located in the highlands or Los Altos region of the Mexican state of Chiapas. They are one of many Mayan ethnic groups and they speak a a language which belongs to the Tzeltalan subgroup of Mayan languages...

 in Mexico, and the Romani in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. In most countries, bride kidnapping is considered a sex crime, rather than a valid form of marriage
Types of marriages
The type, functions, and characteristics of marriage vary from culture to culture, and can change over time. In general there are two types: civil marriage and religious marriage, and typically marriages employ a combination of both The type, functions, and characteristics of marriage vary from...

.
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Encyclopedia

Bride kidnapping, also known as marriage by abduction or marriage by capture, is a practice throughout history and around the world in which a man abducts the woman he wishes to marry. Bride kidnapping still occurs in countries spanning Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

, the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 region, and parts of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, and among peoples as diverse as the Hmong
Hmong people
The Hmong , are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Hmong are also one of the sub-groups of the Miao ethnicity in southern China...

 in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, the Tzeltal
Tzeltal people
The Tzeltal people are the largest indigenous group mostly located in the highlands or Los Altos region of the Mexican state of Chiapas. They are one of many Mayan ethnic groups and they speak a a language which belongs to the Tzeltalan subgroup of Mayan languages...

 in Mexico, and the Romani in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. In most countries, bride kidnapping is considered a sex crime, rather than a valid form of marriage
Types of marriages
The type, functions, and characteristics of marriage vary from culture to culture, and can change over time. In general there are two types: civil marriage and religious marriage, and typically marriages employ a combination of both The type, functions, and characteristics of marriage vary from...

. Some versions of it may also be seen as falling along the continuum between forced marriage
Forced marriage
Forced marriage is a term used to describe a marriage in which one or both of the parties is married without his or her consent or against his or her will...

 and arranged marriage
Arranged marriage
An arranged marriage is a practice in which someone other than the couple getting married makes the selection of the persons to be wed, meanwhile curtailing or avoiding the process of courtship. Such marriages had deep roots in royal and aristocratic families around the world...

. The term is sometimes used to include not only abductions, but also elopements, in which a couple runs away together and seeks the consent of their parents later; these may be referred to as non-consensual and consensual abductions respectively. However, even when the practice is against the law, judicial enforcement remains lax, particularly in Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

 and Chechnya
Chechnya
The Chechen Republic , commonly referred to as Chechnya , also spelled Chechnia or Chechenia, sometimes referred to as Ichkeria , is a federal subject of Russia . It is located in the southeastern part of Europe in the Northern Caucasus mountains. The capital of the republic is the city of Grozny...

.

Bride kidnapping is distinguished from raptio
Raptio
Raptio is a Latin term referring to the abduction of women, either for marriage or enslavement . In Roman Catholic canon law, raptio refers to the legal prohibition of matrimony if the bride was abducted forcibly...

in that the former refers to the abduction of one woman by one man (and his friends and relatives), and is still a widespread practice, whereas the latter refers to the large scale abduction of women by groups of men, possibly in a time of war (see also war rape
War rape
War rapes are rapes committed by soldiers, other combatants or civilians during armed conflict or war, or during military occupation, distinguished from sexual assaults and rape committed amongst troops in military service...

).

Some modern cultures maintain a symbolic kidnapping of the bride by the groom as part of the ritual and traditions surrounding a wedding, in a nod to the practice of bride kidnapping which may have figured in that culture's history. According to some sources, the honeymoon
Honeymoon
-History:One early reference to a honeymoon is in Deuteronomy 24:5 “When a man is newly wed, he need not go out on a military expedition, nor shall any public duty be imposed on him...

 is a relic of marriage by capture, based on the practice of the husband going into hiding with his wife to avoid reprisals from her relatives, with the intention that the woman would be pregnant by the end of the month.

Background and rationale


Though the motivations behind bride kidnapping vary by region, the cultures with traditions of marriage by abduction are generally patriarchal
Patriarchy
Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination...

 with a strong social stigma
Social stigma
Social stigma is the severe disapproval of or discontent with a person on the grounds of characteristics that distinguish them from other members of a society.Almost all stigma is based on a person differing from social or cultural norms...

 on sex or pregnancy outside of marriage and illegitimate births.

A familiar example from the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 is the passage in Book of Judges
Book of Judges
The Book of Judges is the seventh book of the Hebrew bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its title describes its contents: it contains the history of Biblical judges, divinely inspired prophets whose direct knowledge of Yahweh allows them to act as decision-makers for the Israelites, as...

 (Judges 21:19)
(7th century BCE based on earlier tradition):
"Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh. (…) Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards. And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come unto us to complain, that we will say unto them, Be favourable unto them for our sakes: because we reserved not to each man his wife in the war: for ye did not give unto them at this time, that ye should be guilty. And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught: and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them."

In some modern cases, the couple collude together to elope under the guise of a bride kidnapping, presenting their parents with a fait accompli
Fait Accompli
Fait accompli is a French phrase which means literally "an accomplished deed". It is commonly used to describe an action which is completed before those affected by it are in a position to query or reverse it...

. In most cases, however, the men who resort to capturing a wife are often of lower social status
Social status
In sociology or anthropology, social status is the honor or prestige attached to one's position in society . It may also refer to a rank or position that one holds in a group, for example son or daughter, playmate, pupil, etc....

, because of poverty, disease, poor character or criminality. They are sometimes deterred from legitimately seeking a wife because of the payment the woman's family expects, the bride price
Bride price
Bride price, also known as bride wealth, is an amount of money or property or wealth paid by the groom or his family to the parents of a woman upon the marriage of their daughter to the groom...

 (not to be confused with a dowry
Dowry
A dowry is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings forth to the marriage. It contrasts with bride price, which is paid to the bride's parents, and dower, which is property settled on the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage. The same culture may simultaneously practice both...

, paid by the woman's family).

In agricultural and patriarchal societies, where bride kidnapping is most common, children work for their family. A woman leaves her birth family, geographically and economically, when she marries, becoming instead a member of the groom's family. (See patrilocality for an anthropological explanation.) Due to this loss of labor, the women's families do not want their daughters to marry young, and demand economic compensation (the aforementioned bride price) when they do leave them. This conflicts with the interests of men, who want to marry early, as marriage means an increase in social status, and the interests of the groom's family, who will gain another pair of hands for the family farm, business or home. Depending on the legal system under which she lives, the consent of the woman may not be a factor in judging the validity of the marriage.

In addition to the issue of forced marriage
Forced marriage
Forced marriage is a term used to describe a marriage in which one or both of the parties is married without his or her consent or against his or her will...

, bride kidnapping may have other negative effects on the young women and their society. For example, fear of kidnap is cited as a reason for the lower participation of girls in the education system.

The mechanism of marriage by abduction varies by location. This article surveys the phenomenon by region, drawing on common cultural factors for patterns, but noting country-level distinctions.

Africa


In three African countries, bride kidnapping often takes the form of abduction
Kidnapping
In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or transportation of a person against that person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority...

 followed by rape
Rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

.

Rwanda


Bride-kidnapping is prevalent in areas of Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

. Often the abductor kidnaps the woman from her household or follows her outside and abducts her. He and his companions may then rape the woman to ensure that she submits to the marriage. The family of the woman either then feels obliged to consent to the union, or is forced to when the kidnapper impregnates her, as pregnant women are not seen as eligible for marriage. The marriage is confirmed with a ceremony that follows the abduction by several days. In such ceremonies, the abductor asks his bride's parents to forgive him for abducting their daughter. The man may offer a cow, money, or other goods as restitution to his bride's family.

Bride-kidnap marriages in Rwanda often lead to poor outcomes. Human rights workers report that one third of men who abduct their wives abandon them, leaving the wife without support and impaired in finding a future marriage. Additionally, with the growing frequency of bride-kidnapping, some men choose not to solemnize their marriage at all, keeping their "bride" as a concubine. Domestic violence
Domestic violence
Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, and intimate partner violence , is broadly defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, or cohabitation...

 is also common and is not illegal.

Bride kidnapping is not specifically outlawed in Rwanda, though violent abductions are punishable as rape. According to a criminal justice official, bride kidnappers are virtually never tried in court: "When we hear about abduction, we hunt down the kidnappers and arrest them and sometimes the husband, too. But we're forced to let them all go several days later," says an official at the criminal investigation department in Nyagatare
Nyagatare
Nyagatare is a city and capital of Nyagatare district in Eastern Province, Rwanda. It has a population of 9000 inhabitants.The city is located at the end of a 12 km spur from the Kayonza-Kagitumba road, and has grown considerably since 1994, boosted by an influx of former refugees from Uganda...

, the capital of Umutara
Umutara
Until January 2006, Umutara Province was one of the 12 provinces of Rwanda. However, due to local government reorganization, this area is now part of the new larger Eastern Province....

." Women's rights groups have attempted to reverse the tradition by conducting awareness raising campaigns and by promoting gender equity, but the progress has been limited so far.

Ethiopia


In parts of Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, a man working in co-ordination with his friends may kidnap a girl or woman, sometimes using a horse to ease the escape. The abductor will then hide his intended bride and rape her until she becomes pregnant. As the father of the woman's child, the man can claim her as his wife. Subsequently, the kidnapper may try to negotiate a bride price
Bride price
Bride price, also known as bride wealth, is an amount of money or property or wealth paid by the groom or his family to the parents of a woman upon the marriage of their daughter to the groom...

 with the village elders to legitimize the marriage. Girls as young as eleven years old are reported to have been kidnapped for the purpose of marriage. Though Ethiopia criminalized such abductions and raised the marriageable age
Marriageable age
Marriageable age is the age at which a person is allowed to marry, either as of right or subject to parental or other forms of consent. The age and other requirements vary between countries, but generally it is set at 18, although most jurisdictions allow marriage at slightly younger ages with...

 to 18 in 2004, this law has not been well implemented.

The bride of the forced marriage
Forced marriage
Forced marriage is a term used to describe a marriage in which one or both of the parties is married without his or her consent or against his or her will...

 may suffer from both the physical consequences of early sexual activity and pregnancy, and the early end to her education. Abductions of schoolgirls still occur in Oromiya, for example. Women and girls who are kidnapped may also be exposed to sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted disease , also known as a sexually transmitted infection or venereal disease , is an illness that has a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of human sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex...

s such as HIV/AIDS.

Kenya


Forced marriages continue to be a problem for young girls in Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

. The United States Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 reports that children and young teenaged girls (aged ten and up) are sometimes married to men two decades or more their seniors.

Marriage by abduction used to be, and to some extent still is, a customary practice for the Kisii ethnic group. In their practice, the abductor kidnaps the woman forcibly and rapes her in an attempt to impregnate her. The "bride" is then coerced through the stigma of pregnancy and rape to marry her abductor. Though most common in the late 19th century through the 1960s, such marriage abductions still occur occasionally.

The Turkana
Turkana people
The Turkana are a Nilotic people native to the Turkana District in northwest Kenya, a dry and hot region bordering Lake Turkana in the east, Pokot, Rendille and Samburuto the south, Uganda to the west, and Sudan and Ethiopia to the north...

 tribe in Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

 also practiced marriage by abduction. In this culture, bridal kidnapping (akomari) occurred before any formal attempts to arrange a marriage with a bride's family. According to one scholar, a successful bridal kidnapping raised the abductor's reputation in his community, and allowed him to negotiate a lower bride price
Bride price
Bride price, also known as bride wealth, is an amount of money or property or wealth paid by the groom or his family to the parents of a woman upon the marriage of their daughter to the groom...

 with his wife's family. Should an attempted abductor fail to seize his bride, he was bound to pay a bride price to the woman's family, provide additional gifts and payments to the family, and to have an arranged marriage (akota).

Central Asia



In Central Asia, bride kidnapping exists in Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

, Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

, and Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region of Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

. Though origin of the tradition in the region is disputed, the rate of nonconsensual bride kidnappings appears to be increasing in several countries throughout Central Asia as the political and economic climate changes.

Kyrgyzstan



Despite its illegality, in many primarily rural areas, bride kidnapping, known as ala kachuu
Ala kachuu
Ala kachuu is a form of bride kidnapping still practised in Kyrgyzstan. The term can apply to a variety of actions, ranging from a consensual elopement to a non-consensual kidnapping, and to what extent it actually happens is controversial...

(to take and flee), is an accepted and common way of taking a wife. Studies by researcher Russell Kleinbach have found that approximately half of all Kyrgyz marriages include bride kidnapping; of those kidnappings, two thirds are non-consensual. Research by non-governmental organizations raise the estimate of the frequency of bride kidnappings to between 68 and 75 percent of all marriages in Kyrgyzstan.

The matter is somewhat confused by the local use of the term "bride kidnap" to reflect practices along a continuum
Continuum (theory)
Continuum theories or models explain variation as involving a gradual quantitative transition without abrupt changes or discontinuities. It can be contrasted with 'categorical' models which propose qualitatively different states.-In physics:...

, from forcible abduction and rape (and then, almost unavoidably, marriage), to something akin to an elopement arranged between the two young people, to which both sets of parents have to consent after the fact.

Although the practice is illegal in Kyrgyzstan, bride kidnappers are rarely prosecuted. This reluctance to enforce the code is in part caused by the pluralistic legal system in Kyrgyszstan where many villages are de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

ruled by councils of elders and aqsaqal
Aqsaqal
Aqsaqal in Turkic languages literally means "white beard", and metaphorically refers to the male elders, the old and wise of the community...

courts following customary law
Custom (law)
Custom in law is the established pattern of behavior that can be objectively verified within a particular social setting. A claim can be carried out in defense of "what has always been done and accepted by law." Customary law exists where:...

, away from the eyes of the state legal system. Aqsaqal courts, tasked with adjudicating family law, property and torts, often fail to take bride kidnapping seriously. In many cases, aqsaqal members are invited to the kidnapped bride's wedding and encourages the family of the bride to accept the marriage.

Kazakhstan


In Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, bride kidnapping (alyp qashu) is divided into non-consensual and consensual abductions, kelisimsiz alyp qashu ("to take and run without agreement") and kelissimmen alyp qashu ("to take and run with agreement"), respectively. Though some kidnappers are motivated by the wish to avoid a bride price
Bride price
Bride price, also known as bride wealth, is an amount of money or property or wealth paid by the groom or his family to the parents of a woman upon the marriage of their daughter to the groom...

 or the expense of hosting wedding celebrations or a feast to celebrate the girl leaving home, other would-be husbands fear the woman's refusal, or that the woman will be kidnapped by another suitor first. Generally, in nonconsensual kidnappings, the abductor uses either deception (such as offering a ride home) or force (such as grabbing the woman, or using a sack to restrain her) to coerce the woman to come with him. Once at the man's house, one of his female relatives offers the woman a kerchief (oromal) that signals the bride's consent to the marriage. Though in consensual kidnappings, the woman may agree with little hesitation to wear the kerchief, in non-consensual abductions, the woman may resist the kerchief for days. Next, the abductor's family generally asks the "bride" to write a letter to her family, explaining that she had been taken of her own free will. As with the kerchief, the woman may resist this step adamantly. Subsequently, the "groom" and his family generally issues an official apology to the bride's family, including a letter and a delegation from the groom's household. At this time, the groom's family may present a small sum to replace the bride-price. Though some apology delegations are met cordially, others are greeted with anger and violence. Following the apology delegation, the bride's family may send a delegation of "pursuers" (qughysnshy) either to retrieve the bride or to verify her condition and honor the marriage.

Uzbekistan



In Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region in Uzbekistan, nearly one fifth of all marriages are conducted by bride kidnapping. Activist groups in the region tie an increase in kidnappings to economic instability. Whereas weddings can be prohibitively expensive, kidnappings avoid both the cost of the ceremony and any bride price. Other scholars report that less desirable males with inferior educations or drug or alcohol problems are more likely to kidnap their brides. In Karakalpakstan, the bride kidnapping sometimes originates out of a dating relationship and, at other times, happens as an abduction by multiple people.

The Caucasus



"Bride kidnapping tradition on the rise in North Caucasus"] The traditions in the Caucasus, though appearing in distinct cultures, may have emerged during Ottoman rule
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. In the Caucasian versions of bride-kidnapping, the kidnap victim's family may play a role in attempting to convince the woman to stay with her abductor after the kidnapping, because of the shame inherent in the presumed consummation of the "marriage."

Azerbaijan


In Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, both marriage by capture (qız qaçırmaq) and elopement (goshulop gachmak) are relatively common practices. In the Azeri kidnap custom, a young woman is taken to the home of the abductor's parents through either deceit or force. There, she may be raped. Regardless of whether a rape occurs or not, the woman is generally regarded as impure by her relatives, and is therefore forced to marry her abductor. Despite a 2005 Azeri law that criminalized bride kidnapping, the practice places women in extremely vulnerable social circumstances, in a country where spousal abuse is rampant and recourse to law enforcement for domestic matters is impossible. In Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, women abducted by bride kidnapping sometimes become slaves of the family who kidnap them.

Dagestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia


The Dagestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia regions in the Northern Caucasus (in Russia) have also witnessed an increase in bride kidnappings since the fall of the Soviet Union
History of post-Soviet Russia
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union on 29 May 1991, the Russian Federation became an independent country.Russia was the largest of the fifteen republics that made up the Soviet Union, accounting for over 60% of the gross domestic product and over 50% of the Soviet population. Russians also...

. As in other countries, kidnappers sometimes seize acquaintances to be brides and other times abduct strangers. The social stigma of spending a night in a male's house can be a sufficient motivation to force a young woman to marry her captor. Under Russian law, though a kidnapper who refuses to release his bride could be sentenced to eight to ten years, a kidnapper will not be prosecuted if he releases the victim or marries her with her consent. Bride captors in Chechnya are liable, in theory, to receive also a fine of up to 1 million rubles. As in the other regions, authorities often fail to respond to the kidnappings. In Chechnya, the police failure to respond to bridal kidnappings is compounded by a prevalence of abductions in the region. Several such kidnappings have been captured on video.

Researchers and non-profit organizations describe a rise in bride kidnappings in the North Caucasus in the latter half of the 20th century. In Chechnya, women's rights organizations tie the increase in kidnappings to a deterioration of women's rights under the rule of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov
Ramzan Kadyrov
Ramzan Akhmadovich Kadyrov is the President of Chechnya and a former Chechen rebel.Ramzan is a son of former Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov, assassinated in May 2004. In February 2007 Kadyrov replaced Alu Alkhanov as President, shortly after he had turned 30, which is the minimum age for the post...

.

Hmong culture


Marriage by abduction also occurs in traditional Hmong culture
Hmong customs and culture
The Hmong people are an ethnic group in several countries, believed by some researchers to be from the Yellow Basin area in China. The Hmong are known in China as the Miao, a designation that embraces several different ethnic groups...

, in which it is known as zij poj niam. As in some other cultures, bride kidnapping is generally a joint effort between the would-be groom and his friends and family. Generally, the abductor takes the woman while she is alone. The abductor then sends a message to the kidnap victim's family, informing them of the abduction and the abductor's intent to marry their daughter. If the victim's family manage to find the woman and insist on her return, they might be able to free her from the obligation to marry the man. However, if they fail to find the woman, the kidnap victim is forced to marry the man. The abductor still has to pay a bride price for the woman, generally an increased amount because of the kidnapping. Because of this increased cost (and the general unpleasantness of abduction), kidnapping is usually only a practice reserved for a man with an otherwise blemished chance of securing a bride, because of criminal background, illness or poverty.

Occasionally, members of the Hmong ethnic group have engaged in bride kidnapping in the United States. In some cases, the defendant has been allowed to plead a cultural defense to justify his abduction. This defense has sometimes been successful. In 1985, Kong Moua, a Hmong man, kidnapped and raped a woman from a Californian college. He later claimed that this was an act of zij poj niam and was allowed to plead to false imprisonment
False imprisonment
False imprisonment is a restraint of a person in a bounded area without justification or consent. False imprisonment is a common-law felony and a tort. It applies to private as well as governmental detention...

 only, instead of kidnapping and rape. The judge in this case considered cultural testimony as an explanation of the man's crime.

China


Until the 1940s, marriage by abduction, known as qiangqin, occurred in regions of China. According to one scholar, marriage by abduction was sometimes a groom's answer to avoid paying a bride price
Bride price
Bride price, also known as bride wealth, is an amount of money or property or wealth paid by the groom or his family to the parents of a woman upon the marriage of their daughter to the groom...

. In other cases, the scholar argues, it was a collusive act between the bride's parents and the groom to circumvent the bride's consent. Ethnographer Anne McLaren found that qiangqin, though illegal in imperial China
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

, was common in rural areas, and often became a local "institution" that could be carefully planned and undertaken in a public context.

According to McLaren, in one form of a typical qiangqin, the abductor would arrive at a woman's house flanked by around twenty men. While the friends carried the woman away, the "groom" would use scissors to try to cut off the woman's pants. The woman, struggling with ensuring her dignity, would be unable to adequately fight off her abductors. The victim would then be taken to the groom's house, where the marriage would be consummated.

Chinese scholars theorize that this practice of marriage by abduction became the inspiration for a form of institutionalized public expression for women: the bridal lament. In imperial China, a new bride performed a two to three day public song, including chanting and sobbing, that listed her woes and complaints. The bridal lament would be witnessed by members of her family and the local community.

In recent years bride kidnapping has resurfaced in areas of China. In many cases, the women are kidnapped and sold to men in poorer regions of China, or as far abroad as Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

. Reports say that buying a kidnapped bride is nearly one tenth of the price of hosting a traditional wedding. The United States Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 tie this trend of abducting brides to China's one-child policy
One-child policy
The one-child policy refers to the one-child limitation applying to a minority of families in the population control policy of the People's Republic of China . The Chinese government refers to it under the official translation of family planning policy...

, and the consequent gender imbalance as more male children are born than female children.

Mexico



Among the Tzeltal community, a Mayan
Maya peoples
The Maya people constitute a diverse range of the Native American people of southern Mexico and northern Central America. The overarching term "Maya" is a collective designation to include the peoples of the region who share some degree of cultural and linguistic heritage; however, the term...

 tribe in Chiapas
Chiapas
Chiapas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Chiapas is one of the 31 states that, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 118 municipalities and its capital city is Tuxtla Gutierrez. Other important cites in Chiapas include San Cristóbal de las...

, Mexico, bride kidnapping has been a recurring method of securing a wife. The Tzeltal people are an indigenous, agricultural tribe that is organized patriarchally. Premarital contact between the sexes is discouraged; unmarried women are supposed to avoid speaking with men outside of their families. As with other societies, the grooms that engage in bride kidnapping have generally been the less socially desirable mates.

In the Tzeltal tradition, a girl is kidnapped by the groom, possibly in concert with his friends. She is generally taken to the mountains and raped. The abductor and his future bride often then stay with a relative until the bride's father's anger is reported to have subsided. At that point, the abductor will return to the bride's house to negotiate a bride-price, bringing with him the bride and traditional gifts such as rum.

United States


The practice of kidnapping children, teenagers and women from neighboring tribes and adopting them into the new tribe was common among Native Americans throughout the Americas. The kidnappings were usually non-traumatic and were a way of introducing new blood into the group. Adoptees were usually treated well and fully accepted into the group. Although the practice was considered normal by Native Americans, European settlers were horrified by it. Captured European women often settled down as adopted members of the tribe and refused "rescue" when it was offered.

Several reports of bride kidnapping for religious reasons have surfaced recently. Most known are the cases of Elizabeth Smart
Elizabeth Smart kidnapping
The kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart occurred on June 5, 2002, when 14-year-old American girl Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her Salt Lake City, Utah, bedroom...

 in Utah and Jaycee Lee Dugard
Kidnapping of Jaycee Lee Dugard
The kidnapping of Jaycee Lee Dugard occurred on June 10, 1991 in South Lake Tahoe, California. Dugard was 11 years old at the time and was abducted from a street while she was walking from home to a school bus stop. Searches began immediately after the kidnapping, but no reliable leads were generated...

 in California. Both alleged perpetrators are currently awaiting trial for kidnapping and sexual assault. Other cases exists within some fundamentalist or break off groups from Mormonism around the Utah-Arizona border; however, accurate information is difficult to obtain from these closed communities. Most of these cases are usually referred to as forced marriages, although they are similar to other bride kidnappings around the world.

Roma (Gypsy) communities


Bride kidnapping is a traditional Romani practice. In the Romani culture, girls as young as twelve years old may be kidnapped for marriage to teenaged boys. As the Roma population lives throughout Europe, this practice has been seen on multiple occasions in Ireland, England, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Slovakia. The kidnapping has been theorized as a way to avoid a bride price
Bride price
Bride price, also known as bride wealth, is an amount of money or property or wealth paid by the groom or his family to the parents of a woman upon the marriage of their daughter to the groom...

. The tradition's normalization of kidnapping puts young women at higher risk of becoming victims of human trafficking
Human trafficking
Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, or a modern-day form of slavery...

.

Catholic law


In Catholic canon law
Canon law
Canon law is the body of laws & regulations made or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Catholic Church , the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Anglican Communion of...

, the impediment of raptus specifically prohibits marriage between a woman abducted with the intent to force her to marry, and her abductor, as long as the woman remains in the abductor's power. According to the second provision of the law, should the woman decide to accept the abductor as a husband after she is safe, she will be allowed to marry him. The canon defines raptus as a "violent" abduction, accompanied by physical violence or threats, or fraud or deceit. The Council of Trent
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

 insisted that the abduction in raptus must be for the purpose of marriage to count as an impediment to marriage.

Mediterranean


Marriage by capture was practiced in ancient cultures throughout the Mediterranean area. It is represented in mythology and history by the tribe of Benjamin in the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

; by the Greek hero Paris
Paris (mythology)
Paris , the son of Priam, king of Troy, appears in a number of Greek legends. Probably the best-known was his elopement with Helen, queen of Sparta, this being one of the immediate causes of the Trojan War...

 stealing the beautiful Helen of Troy from her husband Menelaus
Menelaus
Menelaus may refer to;*Menelaus, one of the two most known Atrides, a king of Sparta and son of Atreus and Aerope*Menelaus on the Moon, named after Menelaus of Alexandria.*Menelaus , brother of Ptolemy I Soter...

, thus triggering the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

; and by The Rape of the Sabine Women
The Rape of the Sabine Women
The Rape of the Sabine Women is an episode in the legendary history of Rome in which the first generation of Roman men acquired wives for themselves from the neighboring Sabine families. The English word "rape" is a conventional translation of Latin raptio, which in this context means "abduction"...

 by Romulus
Romulus and Remus
Romulus and Remus are Rome's twin founders in its traditional foundation myth, although the former is sometimes said to be the sole founder...

, the founder of Rome, and was a common marriage practice in Sparta.
In 326 A.D., the Emperor Constantine
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

 issued an edict prohibiting marriage by abduction. The law made kidnapping a public offense; even the kidnapped bride could be punished if she later consented to a marriage with her abductor. According to historian Judith Evans-Grubbs, spurned suitors sometimes kidnapped their intended brides as a method of restoring honor. The suitor, in coordination with his friends, generally abducted his bride while she was out of her house in the course of her daily chores. The bride would then be secreted outside the town or village. Though the kidnapped woman was sometimes raped in the course of the abduction, the stain on her honor from a presumptive consummation of the marriage was sufficient to damage her marital prospects irreversibly. Sometimes, the "abduction" masked an elopement.

Italy


The custom of fuitina
Fuitina
The Sicilian term fuitina refers to a practice that used to be common in Sicily and other areas of Southern Italy, whereby a young couple would flee from their families in order to get married despite any vetoes put forth by the families themselves...

was widespread in Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 and southern Italy. In theory and in some cases it was an agreed elopement between two youngsters; in practice it was often a forcible kidnapping and rape, followed by a so-called "rehabilitating marriage" (matrimonio riparatore). In 1965, this custom was brought to national attention by the case of Franca Viola
Franca Viola
Franca Viola is a Sicilian woman that became famous in the 1960s in Italy for refusing a "rehabilitating wedding" after suffering kidnapping and rape. Instead, she and her family successfully appealed to the law to prosecute the rapists...

, a 17-year-old abducted and raped by a local small-time criminal, with the assistance of a dozen of his friends. When she was returned to her family after a week, she refused to marry her abductor, contrary to local expectation. Her family backed her up, and suffered severe intimidation for their efforts; the kidnappers were arrested and the main perpetrator was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

The exposure of this "archaic and intransigent system of values and behavioural mores" caused great national debate. In 1968, Franca married her childhood sweetheart, with whom she would later have three children. Conveying clear messages of solidarity, Giuseppe Saragat
Giuseppe Saragat
Giuseppe Saragat was an Italian politician who was the fifth President of the Italian Republic from 1964 to 1971.Saragat was born in Turin, from Sardinian parents....

, then president of Italy
President of the Italian Republic
The President of the Italian Republic is the head of state of Italy and, as such, is intended to represent national unity and guarantee that Italian politics comply with the Constitution. The president's term of office lasts for seven years....

, sent the couple a gift on their wedding day, and soon afterwards, Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

 granted them a private audience. A 1970 film, La moglie più bella
La moglie più bella
The Most Beautiful Wife is a 1970 Italian film directed by Damiano Damiani, based on the 1965 case of Franca Viola, who challenged the still frequent southern Italian custom of kidnapping and raping a prospective bride by refusing to marry her abductor. See bride kidnapping.It was the debut film...

(The Most Beautiful Wife) by Damiano Damiani and starring Ornella Muti
Ornella Muti
Ornella Muti is an Italian actress. She was born in Rome as Francesca Romana Rivelli, to a Neapolitan father and Russian mother. Her maternal grandparents immigrated from Leningrad , Russia, to Estonia...

, is based on the case. Viola never capitalised on her fame and status as a feminist icon, preferring to live a quiet life in Alcamo
Alcamo
Alcamo is the fourth largest city in the province of Trapani, in north-western Sicily, southern Italy.-History:Alcamo was founded in 828 by the Muslim commander al-Kamuk , though other sources date its origin to c. 972...

 with her family.

Ireland


The abduction of heiresses was an occasional feature in Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 until 1800, as illustrated in the film The Abduction Club
The Abduction Club
The Abduction Club is a British film directed by Stefan Schwartz. Based loosely on real events, the plot centres around a group of outlaws who abduct women in order to marry them. It was written by Richard Crawford and Bill Britten.-Synopsis:...

.

Slavic tribes



East Slavic
East Slavs
The East Slavs are Slavic peoples speaking East Slavic languages. Formerly the main population of the medieval state of Kievan Rus, by the seventeenth century they evolved into the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian peoples.-Sources:...

 tribes, predecessor tribes to the Russian state
History of Russia
The history of Russia begins with that of the Eastern Slavs and the Finno-Ugric peoples. The state of Garðaríki , which was centered in Novgorod and included the entire areas inhabited by Ilmen Slavs, Veps and Votes, was established by the Varangian chieftain Rurik in 862...

, practiced bride kidnapping in the eleventh century. The traditions were documented by Russian monk
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 Nestor
Nestor the Chronicler
Saint Nestor the Chronicler was the reputed author of the Primary Chronicle, , Life of the Venerable Theodosius of the Kiev Caves, Life of the Holy Passion Bearers, Boris and Gleb, and of the so-called Reading.Nestor was a monk of the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev from 1073...

. According to his Chronicles
Primary Chronicle
The Primary Chronicle , Ruthenian Primary Chronicle or Russian Primary Chronicle, is a history of Kievan Rus' from about 850 to 1110, originally compiled in Kiev about 1113.- Three editions :...

, the Drevlian tribe captured wives non-consensually, whereas the Radimich, Viatich, and Severian
Severians
The Severians or Severyans or Siverians were a tribe or tribal union of early East Slavs occupying areas to the east of the middle Dnieper river around the rivers Desna, Sejm and Sula on the territory of the archaeological Romny culture....

 tribes "captured" their wives after having come to an agreement about marriage with them. The clergy's increase in influence may have helped the custom to abate.

Marriage by capture occurred among the South Slavs
South Slavs
The South Slavs are the southern branch of the Slavic peoples and speak South Slavic languages. Geographically, the South Slavs are native to the Balkan peninsula, the southern Pannonian Plain and the eastern Alps...

 until the beginning of the 1800s. Common in Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

, Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

 and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the custom was known as otmitza. The practice was mentioned in a statute in the Politza, the 1605 Croatian legal code. According to leading intellectual and Serbian folk-chronicler Vuk Karadzic, a man would dress for "battle" before capturing a woman. Physical force was a frequent element of these kidnappings.

Bride kidnapping was also a custom in Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

. With the consent of his parents and the aid of his friends, the abductor would accost his bride and take her to a barn away from the home, as superstition held that pre-marital intercourse might bring bad luck to the house. Whether or not the man raped his bride, the abduction would shame the girl and force her to stay with her kidnapper to keep her reputation. As in other cultures, sometimes couples would elope by staging false kidnappings to secure the parents' consent.

Features


Bride capture has been reflected in feature film
Feature film
In the film industry, a feature film is a film production made for initial distribution in theaters and being the main attraction of the screening, rather than a short film screened before it; a full length movie...

s from many cultures, sometimes humorously, sometimes as social commentary.

Bride kidnapping is depicted as a frontier solution in the 1954 Hollywood musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. The 1960 Hong Kong film
Cinema of Hong Kong
The cinema of Hong Kong is one of the three major threads in the history of Chinese language cinema, alongside the cinema of China, and the cinema of Taiwan...

 Qiangpin (The Bride Hunter) portrays the custom in the format of an all-female Shaoxing opera comedy, in which Xia Meng
Xia Meng
Xia Meng is a Hong Kong actress and film producer. She was the key figure of Hong Kong's Left Wing Mandarin movie scene.-Debut on stage:...

 plays a gender-bending role as a man masquerading as a woman. Bride kidnapping is displayed somewhat humorously in Pedro Almodóvar
Pedro Almodóvar
Pedro Almodóvar Caballero is a Spanish film director, screenwriter and producer.Almodóvar is arguably the most successful and internationally known Spanish filmmaker of his generation. His films, marked by complex narratives, employ the codes of melodrama and use elements of pop culture, popular...

's 1990 Spanish hit
Cinema of Spain
The art of motion-picture making within the nation of Spain or by Spanish filmmakers abroad is collectively known as Spanish Cinema.In recent years, Spanish cinema has achieved high marks of recognition as a result of its creative and technical excellence...

 ¡Átame!
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! is a 1990 Spanish film written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar, a dark romantic comedy starring Antonio Banderas and Victoria Abril. The plot follows a recently released psychiatric patient who kidnaps an actress in order to make her fall in love with him...

(Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!), starring Antonio Banderas
Antonio Banderas
José Antonio Domínguez Banderas , better known as Antonio Banderas, is a Spanish film actor, film director, film producer and singer...

 and Victoria Abril
Victoria Abril
Victoria Abril is a Spanish film actress. She is best known to international audiences for her performance in the movie ¡Átame! by director Pedro Almodóvar....

. It is the underlying theme behind the 2005 Korean movie
Cinema of Korea
Korean cinema encompasses the motion picture industries of North and South Korea. As with all aspects of Korean life during the past century, the film industry has often been at the mercy of political events, from the late Joseon dynasty to the Korean War to domestic governmental interference...

 The Bow. In the 2006 comedy Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, often referred to simply as Borat, is a 2006 mockumentary comedy film directed by Larry Charles and distributed by 20th Century Fox...

, the eponymous fictional reporter Borat
Borat
Borat Sagdiyev is a satirical fictional character invented and performed by English comedian Sacha Baron Cohen...

, played by British comedian/satirist Sacha Baron Cohen
Sacha Baron Cohen
Sacha Noam Baron Cohen is an English stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and voice artist. He is most widely known for his portrayal of three unorthodox fictional characters: Ali G, Borat, and Brüno...

, attempts to kidnap Canadian actress Pamela Anderson
Pamela Anderson
Pamela Denise Anderson is a Canadian-American actress, model, producer, author, activist, and former showgirl, known for her roles on the television series Home Improvement, Baywatch, and V.I.P. She was chosen as a Playmate of the Month for Playboy magazine in February 1990...

 in order to take her as his wife. He brings a "wedding sack" which he has made for the occasion, suggesting that such kidnappings are a tradition in his parody of Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

.

On a more serious note, a 1970 Italian film
Cinema of Italy
The history of Italian cinema began just a few months after the Lumière brothers had patented their Cinematographe, when Pope Leo XIII was filmed for a few seconds in the act of blessing the camera.-Early years:...

, La moglie più bella
La moglie più bella
The Most Beautiful Wife is a 1970 Italian film directed by Damiano Damiani, based on the 1965 case of Franca Viola, who challenged the still frequent southern Italian custom of kidnapping and raping a prospective bride by refusing to marry her abductor. See bride kidnapping.It was the debut film...

(The Most Beautiful Wife) by Damiano Damiani and starring Ornella Muti
Ornella Muti
Ornella Muti is an Italian actress. She was born in Rome as Francesca Romana Rivelli, to a Neapolitan father and Russian mother. Her maternal grandparents immigrated from Leningrad , Russia, to Estonia...

, is based on the story of Franca Viola, described above. However, before the national debate caused by the Viola case, a 1964 satire directed by Pietro Germi
Pietro Germi
Pietro Germi was an Italian actor, screenwriter, and director. Germi was born in Genoa, Liguria, to a lower-middle class family. He was a messenger and briefly attended nautical school before deciding on a career in acting.He studied acting and directing at Rome's Centro Sperimentale di...

, Seduced and Abandoned
Seduced and Abandoned
Seduced and Abandoned is a 1964 Italian film directed by Pietro Germi. It was entered into the 1964 Cannes Film Festival.-Synopsis:The film presents the tale of Agnese Ascalone, daughter of prominent miner Vincenzo Ascalone, and takes place in a small town in Sicily, as was Germi's previous film...

(Sedotta e abbandonata), treated the Sicilian custom as a dark comedy. The 2009 film Baarìa - la porta del vento
Baarìa - La porta del vento
Baarìa is a 2009 Italian film directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. It was the opening film of the 66th Venice International Film Festival in September 2009.-Plot:...

shows a consensual fuitina in 20th-century Sicily (atypically having the couple enclosed in the girl's house) as the only way the lovers can avoid the girl's arranged marriage to a richer man.

Some Russian films and literature depict bride kidnapping in the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

. There is a Soviet comedy
Cinema of the Soviet Union
The cinema of the Soviet Union, not to be confused with "Cinema of Russia" despite Russian language films being predominant in both genres, includes several film contributions of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union reflecting elements of their pre-Soviet culture, language and history,...

 entitled Kidnapping, Caucasian Style
Kidnapping, Caucasian Style
A she-prisoner of the Caucasus, or Shurik's New Adventures , also known as Kidnapping, Caucasian Style is a Soviet comedy film dealing with the theme of bride kidnapping....

, where a bride kidnapping occurs in an unidentified Caucasian country. The 2007 Kyrgyz film Pure Coolness
Pure Coolness
Pure Coolness is a 2007 film by Kyrgyz director Ernest Abdyjaparov.- Plot :The film is about the traditional custom of Ala Kachuu – "bride stealing". The film addresses the question of whether the practice can be defended in this day and age, even if the couple end up living "happily ever after"...

also revolves around the bride kidnapping custom, mistaken identity, and the clash between modern urban expectations and the more traditional countryside.

Documentaries


In 2005, a documentary film entitled Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan made by Petr Lom was presented at the UNAFF 2005 festival, and subsequently on PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 and Investigation Discovery (ID) in the United States. The film met controversy in Kyrgyzstan because of ethical concerns about the filming of real kidnappings.

In literature


In Frances Burney's novel, Camilla
Camilla (Burney novel)
Camilla, subtitled A Picture of Youth, is a novel by Frances Burney, first published in 1796. Camilla deals with the matrimonial concerns of a group of young people: Camilla Tyrold and her sisters, the sweet tempered Lavinia and the deformed, but extremely kind, Eugenia, and their cousin, the...

(1796), the heroine's sister, Eugenia, is kidnapped by an adventurer called Alphonso Bellamy. Eugenia decides to stay with her husband on the grounds that she believes her word is a solemn oath. Eugenia is fifteen years old, and so underage, and is co-erced into the marriage -- both were grounds for treating the marriage as illegal.

A Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The fantastic London-based "consulting detective", Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to take almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve...

 story features bride kidnapping. In "The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist
The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist
"The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes.-Synopsis:...

", a woman is employed as a governess
Governess
A governess is a girl or woman employed to teach and train children in a private household. In contrast to a nanny or a babysitter, she concentrates on teaching children, not on meeting their physical needs...

 by a man who knows that she will soon inherit a fortune, with the intent of a confederate marrying her. The ceremony does eventually occur, but is void.

The manga Otoyomegatari A Bride's Story takes place in central Asia. The heroine is married to a boy in an outside clan, but regrets regarding this decision occur when her original clan has problems bearing heirs. Her birth family comes to retrieve her with the intention of marrying her to someone else, but without success. Her new family tells the invaders that the girl has been impregnated, which would be the last seal on the marriage. They doubt this has occurred as the groom is very young and, desperate, they resort to a kidnap attempt, but again fail.

In television


In the BBC radio and television comedy series The League of Gentlemen
The League of Gentlemen
The League of Gentlemen are a group of British comedians formed in 1995, best known for their radio and television series.The League of Gentlemen may also refer to:* The League of Gentlemen ,...

, the character Papa Lazarou
Papa Lazarou
Papa Lazarou is a fictional character in the BBC TV comedy programme The League of Gentlemen.He appeared in two episodes, a Christmas special, and the film The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse. The character is part written by and played by Reece Shearsmith.Papa Lazarou has been listed as both the...

 comes to the fictional town of Royston Vasey
Royston Vasey
Royston Vasey is a small fictional town in the north of England, and the setting of the BBC television comedy series The League of Gentlemen. It has made famous the comedic phrase "a Local Shop for Local People". Royston Vasey is the real name of british stand-up comedian Roy 'Chubby' Brown, who...

 under the guise of a peg-seller. He seeks to kidnap women by entering their homes, talking gibberish to them (Gippog) and persuading them to hand over their wedding ring
Wedding ring
A wedding ring or wedding band is a metal ring indicating the wearer is married. Depending on the local culture, it is worn on the base of the right or the left ring finger. The custom of wearing such a ring has spread widely beyond its origin in Europe...

s. He 'names' them all 'Dave', and, after obtaining their rings, proclaims; "you're my wife now".

See also


  • Bride price
    Bride price
    Bride price, also known as bride wealth, is an amount of money or property or wealth paid by the groom or his family to the parents of a woman upon the marriage of their daughter to the groom...

  • Bride burning
    Bride burning
    Bride-burning is a form of domestic violence practiced in India and Pakistan. It is not the same as ancient and long abolished custom of Sati, where widowed women were forcefully placed on a burning pyre of the dead husband and burnt to death.This has been treated as culpable homicide and if...

  • Exchange of women
    Exchange of women
    The exchange of women is an element of alliance theory - the structuralist theory of Claude Lévi-Strauss and other anthropologists who see society as based upon the patriarchal treatment of women as property, being given to other men to cement alliances...

  • History of rape
    History of rape
    The concept of rape, both as an abduction and in the sexual sense , makes its first historical appearance in early religious texts.-In antiquity and mythology:...

  • Honor killing
    Honor killing
    An honor killing or honour killing is the homicide of a member of a family or social group by other members, due to the belief of the perpetrators that the victim has brought dishonor upon the family or community...

  • Shivaree
    Shivaree
    Shivaree may refer to:* Shivaree , a clamorous salutation made to a newlywed couple* Shivaree , an American band formed in 1997* Shivaree , a play by William Mastrosimone...

  • Shotgun wedding, a sudden wedding, often because the bride is pregnant
  • Stockholm syndrome
    Stockholm syndrome
    In psychology, Stockholm Syndrome is an apparently paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them...

    , when a captive grows to identify with their captor


Books

  • Adekunle, Julius. Culture and Customs of Rwanda, Greenwood Publishing Group (2007).
  • Kovalesky, Maxime. Modern Customs and Ancient Laws of Russia, London: David, Nutt & Strand (1891).

Journal articles

  • Ayres, Barbara "Bride Theft and Raiding for Wives in Cross-Cultural Perspective", Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 3, Kidnapping and Elopement as Alternative Systems of Marriage (Special Issue) (July 1974), p. 245
  • Barnes, R. H. "Marriage by Capture." The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 5, No. 1. (March 1999), pp. 57–73.
  • Bates, Daniel G. "Normative and Alternative Systems of Marriage among the Yörük of Southeastern Turkey." Anthropological Quarterly
    Anthropological Quarterly
    Anthropological Quarterly is a widely read peer-reviewed journal covering topics in social and cultural anthropology.Anthropological Quarterly was founded in 1921 by The Catholic University of America and was published by The Catholic University of America Press from 1921 to 1953 under the name...

    , 47:3 (Jul., 1974), pp. 270–287.
  • Evans-Grubbs, Judith. "Abduction Marriage in Antiquity: A Law of Constantine (CTh IX. 24. I) and Its Social Context" The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 79, 1989, pp. 59–83.
  • Handrahan, Lori. 2004. "Hunting for Women: Bride-Kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan." International Feminist Journal of Politics
    International Feminist Journal of Politics
    International Feminist Journal of Politics is the only journal in the field of International Relations and International Political Economy to focus on gender issues in global politics. The journal was founded by Jan Jindy Pettman of the Australian National University Canberra. It is currently...

    , 6:2 (June), 207–233.
  • Herzfeld, Michael "Gender Pragmatics: Agency, Speech, and Bride Theft in a Cretan Mountain Village." Anthropology 1985, Vol. IX: 25-44.
  • Kleinbach, Russ and Salimjanova, Lilly (2007). "Kyz ala kachuu and adat: non-consensual bride kidnapping and tradition in Kyrgyzstan", Central Asian Survey, 26:2, 217 — 233.
  • Kleinbach, Russell. "Frequency of non-consensual bride kidnapping in the Kyrgyz Republic." International Journal of Central Asian Studies. Vol 8, No 1, 2003, pp. 108–128.
  • Kowalewsky, M. "Marriage among the Early Slavs", Folklore, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Dec., 1890), pp. 463–480.
  • ——, Mehrigiul Ablezova and Medina Aitieva. "Kidnapping for marriage (ala kachuu) in a Kyrgyz village." Central Asian Survey. (June 2005) 24(2), 191–202.
  • Light, Nathan and Damira Imanalieva. "Performing Ala Kachuu: Marriage Strategies in the Kyrgyz Republic".
  • McLaren, Anne E., "Marriage by Abduction in Twentieth Century China", Modern Asian Studies 35(4) (Oct. 2001), pp. 953–984.
  • Rimonte, Nilda "A Question of Culture: Cultural Approval of Violence against Women in the Pacific-Asian Community and the Cultural Defense'", Stanford Law Review, Vol. 43, No. 6 (Jul., 1991), pp. 1311–1326.
  • Stross, Brian. "Tzeltal Marriage by Capture." Anthropological Quarterly. 47:3 (July 1974), pp. 328–346.
  • Werner, Cynthia, "Women, marriage, and the nation-state: the rise of nonconsensual bride kidnapping in post-Soviet Kazakhstan", in The Transformation of Central Asia. Pauline Jones Luong, ed. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press
    Cornell University Press
    The Cornell University Press, established in 1869 but inactive from 1884 to 1930, was the first university publishing enterprise in the United States.A division of Cornell University, it is housed in Sage House, the former residence of Henry William Sage....

    , 2004, pp. 59–89.
  • Yang, Jennifer Ann. "Marriage By Capture in the Hmong Culture: The Legal Issue of Cultural Rights Versus Women's Rights", Law and Society Review at UCSB, Vol. 3, pp. 38–49 (2004).

Human rights reports


News articles and radio reports


Dissertations


External links