Bridge Kidnapping

Most women in the world are able to chose who they love and marry; however, there are still some who are forced into arrange marriage or kidnapped into a marriage.  In the rural areas of Nepal– and other countries in the world- women are still kidnapped by a man’s family and forced into marriage.  Men who partake in this old tradition understand they are giving women no rights by kidnapping them, but they are OK with that because the pride of the man is what is important. What makes it worst, is that women cede their power to men and succumb to this tradition, purely on the basis that it is tradition.

When a woman is kidnapped, she often does not know the man she is marrying. I recently watched a documentary on bride kidnapping in my human rights class, and I found it very interesting.  In one of the scenes, a man sees a beautiful woman on the street.  He told two other men who were with him that, that girl was the girl he wanted.  One of the men proceeded into a shop where a woman was working.  The man asked where the beautiful woman lived.  The woman in the shop would not tell him because she knew why he was asking.  That night, instead of taking the beautiful woman, they kidnapped the woman from the shop.

Despite it being a human rights violation, bridge kidnapping is still widely practiced in more traditional areas in Asia and parts of Africa. It is a practice that gives women no voice, no autonomy and no rights.  And it is a practice that has largely been outlawed in many of the countries still practicing it today.  However, those who commit the crime are rarely punished.

I understand traditions are important to culture and heritage, but I simply cannot support traditions when they degrade women and give them (little to) no choice.  This is the 21st century, and it is a human rights violation and outlawed in many countries for a reason.  Countries – and its citizens- need to look beyond blindly following a tradition and look at the implications of what they are doing.  If they were to do this, they would see that bride kidnapping is not good for the man or the woman. When they are able to do this, bride kidnapping can give way to new traditions.


About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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