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Archive for August 11th, 2010

I am watching a programme on TV at the moment about ‘Bride stealing’ in Chechnya.  It seems that this has become a regular occurance in the country and is now becoming part of the law and working it’s way into tradition.

What happens is that a boy sees a girl he fancies, he then arranges with a family member to help him steal her.  The girl has absolutely no say in this matter, is often taken against her will (there are girls who are ok with this), then forced into marrying the boy.  Sometimes if she is ‘lucky’ the boy is a distant family member and life would not be too bad for her, she may even be lucky enough to ‘get on’ with her Mother-in-law.

Once she is ‘married’ she becomes his ‘property’ and he is pretty much able to treat her as he wishes.  Sometimes the boy’s family will ask the girls family in the presence of an Elder of the Islamic authority. He, the Elder, is the person who conducts the ‘wedding’ and he dictates how she should be dressed and pretty much everything else about the proceedings.

The women of the country shrug their shoulders and say “that is the way things are, it’s not too bad.”  Even her parents do not have any say about the matter and just wish her well.  There was a whole lot more to the programme and that would take too long to explain.

So, here’s the thing….I will always be grateful that I was born into a culture and country where women do have a say in their lives, where we can say ‘No!’ if something is not to our liking and where we have the freedom to make choices.

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