Bride Theft Rampant in Southern Georgia
Tuesday, July 18, 2006 11:00 AM

Despite the emergence of tougher laws to protect women, the tradition of bride-kidnapping remains prevalent in Southern Georgia according to the Gender Information Network. It is common for men in Georgia to abduct a woman they wish to marry without her consent. Once she has been successfully kidnapped, social stigma surrounding the possibility of lost virginity prevents the woman or girl from returning home if she is opposed to the marriage. As a result, many women and girls feel bound to marry their kidnappers.

Georgian law is strict on bride-kidnapping. The criminal code covering “crimes against human rights and freedoms” stipulates a sentence of between four and twelve years imprisonment for the offense. However, the vast majority of bride-kidnapping cases are not reported and fewer still are prosecuted. The practice is so engrained within society that many abducted brides do not even view their kidnapping as a crime. Women’s rights organizations are working to change traditional attitudes and gender stereotypes in the country in the hopes that the future generations of Georgians will view the practice as violation and a remnant of the past.  

Compiled from: Gulo Kokhodze and Tamuna Uchidze, "Bride Theft Rampant in Southern Georgia," Gender Information Network, 15 June 2006. Accessed 18 July 2006.