Kyrgyz Woman Abducted for Marriage Tells Her Story on Twitter

Although bride kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan is a criminal offence punishable by up to seven years in prison, the practice remains a common occurrence throughout the country. Many Kyrgyz, particularly rural men, view the practice of ala kachuu as a national ‘tradition’ and a birth-rite. Therefore, witnesses and victims rarely report the practice to police, and many police officers are reluctant to punish perpetrators.

Screenshot from video, ‘Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan', uploaded on January 17, 2012, by YouTube user Vice.

Screenshot from video, ‘Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan’, uploaded on January 17, 2012, by YouTube user Vice.

Yet the situation is changing in Kyrgyzstan, with individual victories gradually helping to root out the practice of bride kidnapping. A young woman, Roza, was recently kidnapped in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, by a group of men who tried to force her to marry their friend. The woman was saved after a person who had witnessed the kidnapping called police. Following her release, Roza told the story on Twitter (@katale_ya). Below are some of her tweets that rapidly went viral in Kyrgyzstan.

Yesterday I took part in an ancient ritual of bride kidnapping for the first time; obviously, I was the bride, or a sheep, that they tried to kidnap!..

I was walking home after work and then suddenly they grabbed me from behind and said, “Don't be afraid, we will not hurt you”…

I thought to myself, “This is the end, Roza, say farewell to your life! They will now drive you devil knows where, rape you, and then kill you…”

Obviously I put up the resistance. I hit one of the men in the eye with a [mobile phone] charger which fell out [of a bag]; I then hit another one and bit someone…

I fought till the end, but then I understood that I was no Uma Thurman [Hollywood actress starring in action movie Kill Bill] and could not fight with seven men… When I became too weak to fight, I started shouting…

They pushed me into a car, then drove somewhere, and then carried me in their hands to an apartment to make sure I didn't escape…

When we entered the apartment, I saw a female neighbor of mine who stood there smiling. There were also other women and men, all staring at me as if I were a monkey at a zoo…

They took me to one of the rooms and started telling me about how good my “fiance” was, that I should marry him, that I would get married anyway and might then regret [not marrying him].

I was tired and sleepy after work, I could not really hear what they were saying…. So I decided to let them put a scarf on my head [a gesture symbolizing an agreement to wed the kidnapper] to calm them down so that I could then run away in the morning.

So I went to bed, but five minutes later, my fiance-to-be entered the room and told me that they were going to my parents’ place; he asked me to tell my parents [over the phone] that I was staying so that they agreed [to the wedding]..

But I told him that I would tell my mother the truth, that I didn't want to marry, and that I wanted [my mother] to save me from there… And then someone rang a door bell! They thought guests came (at 4 am!)

But this was police! Gosh, you can't imagine how happy I was to see them!!!

They asked me whether I was held there against my will. Obviously I said that was the case. Police then took me, the “fiance” and his friend to a [local police department].

It turned out that a man living in a nearby house saw them abducting me (he went out for a smoke just at the right time), called [police], and informed them about the car [in which they drove me away].

Police spent four hours looking for me, they were all over Bishkek, searching for the car…

When we arrived at the [police department], I filed a complaint. For the reference of guys-idiots: [bride] kidnapping is now punishable by a prison term of five to seven years!!

But Roza afterwards decided not to take to court the men who had abducted her. Although many Twitter users disapproved of Roza's decision to let her abductors go unpunished, she said she did not want to “ruin the men's lives”. She tweeted later:

Life goes on, one way or another…

And I want to forget this all as a nightmare…

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