It's a terrifying tradition that was outlawed twenty years ago, but thousands of young women in Kyrgyzstan are still being kidnapped and forced into marriage. The practice is common in rural parts of the country but now, activists claim, it is spreading to cities. Young women are attacked as they walk down the street, bundled into a car and taken to the grooms' home where his relatives pressurise her into accepting the marriage.
Thomas Morton, who filmed a documentary for VICE on the practice, told Grazia: 'One woman was beaten so hard she was hospitalised when she escaped. Another woman lost her daughter, who hanged herself four days after being kidnapped. From the way she spoke, how she carried herself... anyone could see that her life had been destroyed.'
When two twenty year old women hanged themselves after they were bride-kidnapped in 2011, activists founded Campaign 155 to try and put a stop to the horrifying custom. Aigul Alymkulova of the Women's Support Center in Bishkek, says; 'We want to educate the next generation that bride-kidnapping is a "tradition" that should stay in the past, and ensure that tougher punishments are implemented on the men who do this.'
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