She. She is Kyrgyz. She is young. She is at secondary school. She was raped three times.
In August 2012, a female young student went out with her friend, who had introduced her to a man. After meeting her, the man snatched her mobile phone and forcibly took her to a vacant field, where he raped her.
The man, her rapist, her abductor and soon to be her...
The year of 2012, was the year the apocalypse was predicted to make a guest appearance and for the world to meet total obliteration. It certainly has proven to be a busy year at Restless Beings’ HQ. The sudden escalation in Burma’s sectarian violence demanded Restless Beings to push political boundaries and seek the attention this community deserves. Alongside our Rohingya activity, our co projects have not been neglected in anyway. The partnership with Sezim, rehabilitation and refugee centre in Kyrgyzstan was also very busy, ending 2012 with a vigorous 16 days campaign in November and December to raise awareness on gender violence.
In October, 2012 a new bill for bride kidnapping received its second reading, but there were fears and uncertainties as to whether the bill would receive sufficient political backing to successfully pass through parliament.
January 28th, 2013 President Almazbek Atambayev passed a new law which increases the maximum prison sentence for bride-kidnapping from three to seven years. Kidnappers abducting girls under the age of 17, which is the minimum legal age for marriage, now face a punishment of up to ten years in prison. Restless Beings has been working in Bishkek to support the wellbeing of victims and welcomes this vital measure to ensure that a woman’s right to choose is respected and protected.
The head of a prominent Women’s NGO said “Bride kidnapping does not exist in Armenia”, a direct contradiction to the reality throughout Armenia. Indeed on the surface, a bystander would agree; in the public sphere bride kidnapping is neither talked about nor studied. However, through the medium of independent surveys and interviews, data was collected which revealed an overwhelming prevalence of this silent but powerful legacy in Armenia.
Yasmin is an 18 year old girl in general secondary education, who called our partner rehabilitation centre Sezim for emotional aid through the helpline funded by your donations.
One night Yasmin was on her way home when she was offered a lift by a ‘family friend’. She had met him on several occasions but never actually had any direct dialogue with this ‘family friend’. As she got into the vehicle, she saw that there were two other men present - automatically she felt something stir. Something was wrong.
Ala Kachuu is a complicated crime with ambiguous issues of unspoken cultural and social norms. This practice is not only a non-consensual abduction of a girl's right to choose her life partner but also an abduction of that girl's life, dreams and future. Bride kidnaping in Kyrgyzstan further raises concerns of underage marriage and forced sexual intercourse since many of the abducted brides are less than 18 years old, the minimum legal age for marriage.
The mother of a recent victim voiced her traumatic episode to our Partner Rehabilitation Centre, Sezmin. The real identity of the victim cannot be revealed due to confidentiality reasons, therefore for the purpose of this article we shall refer to the victim as Salamat
Our partners at Sezim have been providing essential support and care to several victims of Ala Kachuu. Sezim was created in 1998 and at the time the issues of domestic violence, let alone Ala Kachuu, were rarely discussed at governmental or public level. The women’s advocacy group and staff of the first shelter in Central Asia, Umyt, formed a new independent non-governmental organisation, the Crisis Psychological Centre for Women and Famil- Sezim. Sezim provides rehabilitation and reintegration aid to women and children suffering as a result of gender based violence, domestic violence and human trafficking. The centre actively collaborates with governmental authorities as well as other international organisations supporting their mission. The centre has significant experience in the fields of gender rights, domestic violence, and human trafficking advocacy and Restless Beings has been closely working with them to support the victims of bride kidnapping.
Earlier this year in April the Restless Being team visited a village called Mikhailovka in Karakol, in the north east region of Kyrgyzstan. This village was home to Viniera and Nuzrat, both aged 21, who both tragically took their own lives in the aftermath of non-consensual Ala-Kachuu (bride-kidnapping).
The practice of Ala Kachuu is much worse in extremely rural places and both these young women left behind grief stricken families. Viniera left behind a distraught father, younger brother and niece and sadly Nuzrat committed suicide whilst still being pregnant. Restless Beings met with both families in April and kindly helped us develop a short documentary about the realities and hard truths about the practice of non-consensual Ala Kachuu. Since then we have been in touch with the families and have been working with our partner organisation, Sezim, to provide them with support!
Restless Beings has provided some welcomed Eid gifts to the women of our Ala Kachuu project with the amazing help of our supporters! The ‘Ala Kachuu’ (Bride Kidnapping) project has been operational since 2011 and this Ramadan we launched ‘A Helping Hamper’ campaign to provide a variety of basic materials and special gifts to women celebrating Eid. It consisted of a new set of clothes, a towel, hair brush, hair band, face cream, pocket mirror, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, toys and clothes for their children. The hamper also included an Eid feast and a family outing. While the feast and outing gave them the opportunity to celebrate Eid, the little necessities provided in the hamper will help to ease their everyday lives and give them some comfort.
Restless Beings has been working in Kyrgyzstan since 2010 to raise awareness for victims of non consensual Ala Kachuu (bride kidnapping)
This film charts two emotional stories of girls who were kidnapped and forced to marry against their will and eventually ended up committing suicide. In-depth interviews with their families as well as the thoughts of the youth of Kyrgyzstan are...