2014 Social Work Home-Country Project
devoted to the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence campaign
Project in Naryn, on prevention of bride-kidnapping initiated by Aigul Abdyldaeva, 2014 MSW Candidate from George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, an alumna of the international exchange program funded by the Open Society Foundations.
Young women between the ages of 16-20 years old experience a higher rate of bride kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan, which leads to increased school drop-out rates and instances of domestic violence. Kidnapped brides also have a
What organizations or individuals are working on the issue of bride-kidnapping?
I have interviewed two representatives working in this area:
Name: Munara Beknazarova
Job title: Director
Agency’s local website:http://openline.kg/
I had a skype conversation with the Director of Open Line organization, Munara Beknazarova. Based on our conversation, the Open Line has produced six public service announcements and posted 21 informational videos that have been viewed by 81,327 people on YouTube and Facebook. Moreover, they have created a vast network of partnerships with other local organizations with the purpose of raising awareness through their stakeholders and partners. For example, there are many resources in Bishkek for affected women, for example (1) Hot line; (2) Access to professional advocates and some other services. But most of the resources are available and used by women who are in Bishkek as in many cases many girls from rural areas do not have money to come to the capital to seek the support or get information. Currently, 20 NGOs in Kyrgyzstan now distribute informational materials provided by Open Line on the issue of bride-kidnapping (M. Beknazarova, personal communication, June 11, 2013).
Name: Gerald Gunther
Job title: UN Women National Gender Specialist in Kyrgyzstan
Global website: www.unwomen.org
Agency's local website: http://unwomen-eeca.org/ru/strani_sng/kirgizstan/
Here is the abstract of what Mr. Gunther said: “In rural areas in particular lack of information about possibilities and self-determined life-outcomes in a general environment of economic constraint and failure, getting married is seen as a rite of passage into womanhood and relative economic and social stability. Traditional patterns of interaction between youth and the related limitations to live together when not married also do not build the skills of youths to determine suitability for partnership and marriage. Henceforth, marrying a key who is seemingly not any better or worth than any other in the village, especially when parents are not likely to intervene in a forced abduction is a fate a girl cannot escape, especially as it is common practice in her community.
All this calls for empowerment and education, state-building (in the absence of effective law enforcement and an inactive justice system) and advocacy to change stereotypes of normalcy and tradition in criminal acts that were not widespread even a generation ago. Once women are empowered, which includes them having skills to be economically independent and economic opportunity to use these skills, once they more often mentally resist abduction at the cost of scandal triggering a national debate on the immorality of abduction, this supported by victim self-help networks and advocacy campaigns, triggering enforcement of laws also as a reaction to moral sanction of these practices by the international community that may make some aid conditional on the state implementing its human rights duties and related functions, the tide can be turned. In the meantime it is left to civil society to provide basic counseling and support services to the affected women given the low quality of suitable state services in this area to victims and survivors. But a lasting change will only come when education at home and institutionally will build pride and an understanding of rights in girls and boys.»
Partners of the project of the NGO “Booruker”, Open Society Foundations, Naryn State University, in particular, Naryn Pedagogical College, UN Women and the Foundation “Open Line.”