Rape or Nontraditional rape? (Bride Kidnapping Video)
Debate Rounds (4)
Most women"s dream is to find the perfect man to get married and be happy with. The idea of thinking about being kidnaped in the name of love is hard to understand especially when women"s rights are been violated and their freedom of choice does not count in their society. We live in a country where we are all equal and free to make our own decisions"or at least pretend to be"but not all people live the same reality. It"s hard to believe in the idea that there are countries in the world were women"s freedom and rights are still being violated and unlawful actions taken by men are being ignored in their society.
Kyrgyzstan"located in Central Asia"is a country driven by traditions and beliefs that ignore the idea of gender equality in their culture. One of Kyrgyzstan"s most common tradition is the "bride kidnapping" that not only violates the law but also it also ignores women"s freedom of choice of whom they want to choose as their husband. The bride kidnapping video presents the reality of a cultural act that has existed from generations to generations which has not only affected women"s lives but it has also created a cultural impact in the country of Kyrgyzstan. Kubanti"the broom to be"made the decision of kidnapping her possible wife. The couple knew each other from a long time and had a relationship were they have had already spoken about marriage and made a decision of the right way to do it and the right time. Kubanti decided to follow tradition instead and kidnapped his "girlfriend" with the help of his friends and family. The girl struggled and fought back not to be taken in captivity but at the end of the day, the weight of tradition was heavier than her own understanding of her rights as a woman. "Unfortunately, 95% of women stay, even if they don"t know him. The reason is that Kyrgyz girls are educated from childhood to be obedient (30:44)."
The problem that needs to be addressed is the fact that there are women in Kyrgyzstan"and maybe other countries in the world"who are being kidnaped and raped without having a choice of deciding what"s best for them as individuals and not as part of a generational tradition. People need to understand the difference between rape and nontraditional rape in order to argue and defend the rights of women who are being forced to live by the traditions of a culture which is violating human rights"specifically women"s rights. How can we address and change a problem in our society if the law does not protect us? "Not many cops realize that kidnapping a bride is illegal and the fewer who know, don"t even care (2:50)." Citizens of Kyrgyzstan agree and understand that they are breaking the law (3:28) but the idea of tradition is more powerful than the laws imposed by men. Nontraditional rape is portrayed to be men"s way to escape the reality of their wrongful and unlawful actions. "Nontraditional rapes are not criminal, and worse, that the woman must bear any guilt, the law has reflected, legitimized, and enforced a view of sex and women which celebrates male aggressiveness and punishes female passivity (161.1.5)." The problem with women from Kyrgyzstan is that many of them have been trained from childhood to follow tradition as a way of obedience and submission. The bride"s mother and grandmother were being kidnapped as well and forced to get married (22:57) creating a vicious generational cycle of acceptance of a tradition that ignores the fact they are human beings who have the right to decide who they marry or not. I believe that men are not the only ones to blame but also females who because of their beliefs forget the fact that they are not someone"s possession but their own. Many Kyrgyz girls know that the bride kidnapping tradition is wrong and humiliating, and that"s why some of them have committed suicide while the others decided to get married instead as a proof of hopelessness. The bride from the video was only a teenager who had dreams and ambitions and who thought about marriage but never imagined to be kidnapped instead. She realized she had no other choice than to surrender to the idea that her life as a dreamer was over and that her reality was kicking in. "No, I don"t think it"s good but what we can do? It comes from ancient times (23:10). Since I was already taken, they wouldn"t leave me alone anyhow (27:05)." It might seemed as she agreed on the weeding because she wanted to but in reality, she was only doing it because she knew that if she rejected him he would have not letting her alone. She was too young to make a smart decision because she was driven by the pressure of not only his family but a society that believes that all girls should get married even if the use of force is needed. "Calm down girl, you"ll be fine. You"ll be happy. All girls must get married (13:36). Girls will be happy if they get married crying (13:45);" this were the words of a kidnapper who presents the ideologies and thoughts that Kyrgyz men have about marriage and the whole idea of kidnapping women. Kidnapping a woman to prove her pureness and desire of marriage is not an excuse to humiliate her and force her to make a decision of such. "The law should evaluate the conduct of "reasonable" men, not according to a Playboy-macho philosophy that says "no means yes," but by according respect to a woman"s words (161.4.6)" silence does not negate consent, at least crying and saying "no" should (161.4.7)." But what is the point of crying and saying no when being kidnapped if at the end of the day the power of men over women will always be stronger specially in a society where women has no voice or vote.
The actions taken by Kubanti in the bride kidnapping video evidence that nontraditional rape occurred. There"s not a single definition of rape that we can use to describe it and even "the law provides no clear, working definition of rape (162.5.2)." The main problem with victims of nontraditional rape is that most of them decide not to report it"like in the case of the bride"Kyrgyz women have come to the conclusion that is part of their tradition instead of a violation of the law and human rights.
Around the world there are many different views with many different cultures that one might not necessarily agree with everything that are going on in the world. Since there are so many different types of cultures, it is as if we are expected to have an open mind about certain things. It is as if we must prepare our mind to accept that others see things differently then we might and we must not question other countries or persons beliefs. We in a way have no right to decide whether the actions of others are wrong because what is wrong in our eyes might be acceptable in another"s eyes.
In this specific case we are trying to decide if the actions taken by the Husband in this video are actually acceptable or wrong. Well as I stated before we are not one to decide what is acceptable and what is not therefore bride kidnapping is neither non-traditional rape nor Rape. For instance in some cultures it is normal for a female and although others may not accept their traditions it is not something we can fully control. Many traditions have been around since the ancient times (23:10). It has become a way of life, an unwritten rule, a rule that is inherited from generation to generation. It is a simply a part of their culture and even if some disagreed there is not much that they can do to change things. As I understood from the video there is not even much that the law can do about this tradition, it seems to be something that goes beyond the law and that by simply talking to the police the men planning on committing the kidnap can simply talk their way out of any trouble with the law (17:46). The author claims that her article "Examines the rape within the criminal law tradition in order to expose and understand that tradition"s attitude toward women. (159.8.1)
Although as seen in the video some women were kidnapped it is not Rape nor is it non-traditional rape because many women consented to the marriage. While watching the video we see that if the woman simply accepts to get married right away she is simply desperate to get married and should not be taken seriously. If the woman fights, cries, and at refuses the marriage for a while puts up a fight, she is seen as a female that can become a good wife and someone who can be taken seriously. Not only is she respected by her future husband but also by her in laws which seem to have an extremely high level of importance in this Country.
I feel as if the kidnapping is simply a way to excite the proposal. It is a way to win the girl. She will agree because many times they were already dating and have discussed marriage prior the kidnapping. This is a way to propose and ask the girl if she will marry you. Further, to prove to society that she is worthy of being a wife she will work hard for her groom"s family and will first consent to the marriage. It is believed that after the first night together if the bride does not bleed is was not a virgin and the marriage will not be acceptable. If the girl stays the first night is it believed that she will stay forever (17:22). Therefore, the man does not have to force her to have sexual intercourse by using aggression and/or physical abuse because she will be accept her role now and is willing do it in order to prove she is worthy of the wife title. The girl has accepted what happened, "I don"t know If she just put up resistance because that is what you are supposed to do" (15:34).
It is an acceptable kidnap for many reasons, one of them could be justified by the fact that the bride"s family was aware that the groom"s family would come for a visit in order to discuss the weddings. If the kidnapping came of total surprise the bride"s family would not have known that they would have to prepare such a special dinner and alcohol.
While it is true that some woman have committed suicide because of these kidnaps it is not the case for all. Many of the women, who have been victims of kidnaps, learn to accept it because they see it as something that is going to happen eventually because in their culture this is part of life and something they cannot prevent. They must simply play their role and accept it, by accepting it they can be happy and have a family.
Therefore, the actions taken by the husband/groom are neither Rape nor non-traditional rape in that it is a rule that comes from the ancient time. The women are expected to marry young and it is not their choice when they are ready to marry by the groom"s choice when he is ready. It is simply a different way of proposing and that is truly why I see this as something that we cannot judge as Rape or Non-Traditional way because in this country this is something that is not questioned, it is not something that is seen as the violations of the women"s rights it is simply a way of living and ending up happy with that person and the family you both create. The key thing is to remember that we as outsiders to this country"s traditions see this as something that is completely wrong but they do not. They see it as something that symbolizes happiness, destiny and the beginning of a new love that will last a lifetime.
Even though the fact that the bride"s family had everything ready to receive the groom"s family does not necessarily mean that they were aware that their daughter was going to be kidnapped. We have no knowledge of the amount of time that it took for the bride to say yes since it was a short documentary. So, that comment is not valid to prove a point of rape or nontraditional rape.
The raped occurred based on the negligence of both parties since they were both influenced by the idea of a tradition and not a common law. It is sad to believe that in some cases, suicide is the only way to escape from this reality. Do you think that"s reasonable? How can a woman have to choose between marrying a person who she might not even know and the idea of committing suicide? Acceptance does not mean happiness. Many Kyrgyz women get married out of tradition and not out of love, so how can someone have a happily life with a stranger that not only forced her to get married but humiliated her in front of many people by kidnapping her?
Response to Danielle's Argument 1
In no moment did I state that the kidnap was a necessity. I simply stated that I felt it might have been used as a way to excite the proposal. By using the word might, I implied that it is not necessarily the case for everyone. Further, with your statement "and you"re right, there is no much we can do about it but if we remain with our minds close to the ideology that we can"t change the things that affects us as human beings then we will never experience a change within our society. " I do not understand how in the first few words you agree with me then tell me I am wrong? Also in my argument I did not mention anything than affects us as human beings, I stated that we do not necessarily have a right to judge their culture and decide that it is wrong. What do you mean by "within our society"? I am not talking about the United States. Please clarify.
It is not necessarily the case that individuals know what is occurring around the world and many are not even aware of their own right let alone the rights of someone around the world. Referring to your question "How can she not agree after been humiliated in front of so many people and even the broom"s family?" Where in the video did the bride to be state that she was humiliated?
With respect to the statement you made on "The white scarf was placed in her head by using force; the bride refused to wore it and somehow she ended up accepting it anyway. The scarf tradition is a process that "can take hours or even days (15:00)." While it is true that in the video the narrator mentioned that it might take hours or even days to get the woman to agree he also said "This is a very confusing scene, the girl has accepted, I do not know if you put up resistance because that is what you are supposed to do."(15:44). From just watching the video it seemed as only minutes passed. While she did at first, refuse to wear the white scarf, it is clear in the video that after a few moments she did accept and she did not resist anymore. I would have to disagree with your on the reality of their decisions. I do not believe that the women are prevented from seeing the reality of their decision. I simply believe that they choose to live this reality and accept it as something normal. I do not fully understand your explanation of why it is not a rape. How is consenting to the marriage without necessarily wanting to get married supposed to be considered Rape? Something else that I found to be rather confusing was how you brought what Smith had stated. I do not fully understand how those ties directly into the things you mentioned prior to that. Where you state that my comment is not valid because it was a short documentary is not enough to dismiss my comment and claim that it is invalid.
In your last paragraph where you mention that negligence is on behalf of both parties? Who are the parties? Although I do agree that it is extremely sad for some of these women commit suicide as a result of the kidnap but suicide is not the only way to escape from the reality. They can get divorced and not worry about the comments her community will say. If she is truly unhappy she does not have to kill herself. What if she runs away? What if after giving it a shot she realizes that it is not worth committing suicide that if she is truly unhappy she will continue to look for a way to escape. Of course I do not think it is reasonable for woman to feel that suicide is their only escape but I also do not think the blame. Everyone has their own level of happiness and that is not necessarily something that can be measured. You mentioned that acceptance does not mean happiness but it also does not mean unhappiness. The bride simply accepts that this is the way things have been done since ancient times. It is part of her destiny and instead of fighting it she must embrace. With respect to the video there is not necessarily any hard evidence/proof of a Rape or non traditional rape occurring. There is no detailing that actually implies that the woman was must have sex with this man. I feel that there are simply statements that leave us hanging off a cliff. Statements that expect us to put the pieces together as if it was a puzzle and because we are "human" we should assume that this woman was actually a victim of Rape or non traditional rape. How can our assumption actually are proves that it was indeed what actually happened? To actually claim that it was Rape or non traditional rape we need more information not simply the basics as to how they even get to marriage. We need to see what happens after. We need to understand from the bride"s point of view and since we cannot do so we cannot claim this as Rape or non-traditional rape.
People should be aware of their own rights. The problem is that most individuals don"t care about what is going on around the world and that"s why world problems remain as they are. But the discussion is not about people"s rights, we are here to establish if the actions made by the husband were either rape/nontraditional rape or not.
The bride never said he was humiliated but there was a part in the video were it was stated; "even if they love each other, it is illegal to kidnap a woman without consent because it"s humiliating to be physically captured and forced into a car (3:05)."
About your question; "How is consenting to the marriage without necessarily wanting to get married supposed to be considered Rape?" By her forcedly consenting to the marriage, she agrees to spend the night with him, as it was mentioned in the video; "by our tradition (Kyrgyz), if a girl spends one night, then she will stay forever (17:18)." If she didn"t agree with the marriage then she wouldn"t have had to spend the night. I believe the origin of rape commences when she is forced to do something she is not sure of. The bride even said she wanted to wait a little longer because she was still in school and she had dreams she wanted to achieve. Smith mentioned something in the book that I have to agree; "from a woman"s point of view, the danger in this position is that many women who say "yes" are not in fact choosing freely but are submitting because they feel a lack of power to say "no" (177.5.1)." Many women are pressured to make choices they are not ready for, mainly because they feel they are less powerful than men. The problem is that some women let men influence in their decisions because they feel that they are not capable of making choices by their own without the support of a stronger figure that somehow will protect their decision-making process.
The part where I quoted Smith, I was trying to show how whether the husband is guilty or not. I was not stating any point I was just creating a question about consent and how it is confusing for men to understand whether the woman is agreeing or not. In this case she didn"t agree, because like I said, she did fight back and was showing resistance.
Smith also mentions the male perspective when it comes to consent; "from some men"s point of view, the problem is that some women who say "no" would be willing to say "yes", or at least to "go along," if properly pressured (177.5.2)." I do believe the bride kidnapping situation is very similar to what Smith mentioned. Even though the bride said no many times and she refused to been taken away, she was finally pressured and obligated to say yes. The persistence and the actions taken by the husband pressured the wife into saying yes and agreeing to get married.
On my last paragraph when I mentioned about "both parties," I was talking about husband and wife. The problem is that divorce is not socially accepted in this community. As I mentioned before; "if a girl spends one night, then she will stay forever (17:18)," it shows how after being married a girl will have to live with the idea that she has no other choice than to stay with the guy forever. Also, she will no longer be "pure" so there is no way she can have another husband.
Rape and non-traditional rape refer to a man"s aggressiveness and the forced used in the act. Smith defines Non-traditional rapes as something that is not criminal. We must also understand the meaning of consent. In"t giving consent giving permission to another and in a way understanding that giving that consent might have consequences. While it is true the wife was persuaded to give consent to the marriage from the video we cannot determine whether she was forced to have sex. Some facts that we can be sure from the video is that after what seemed to be a few minutes of resisting (again because it is tradition to resist in order to not seem desperate) she accepted the marriage and seemed to be happy. I am saying, the word "seemed" because we do not necessarily know her exact feeling at the moment she consented to the marriage, in the video we see her smiling an accepting candy and whatever else was being handed out but we do not know how she felt inside. Was she afraid? Did she finally realize that she was going to marry the man she was dating? The man who she already had discussed marriage with?
We can simply judge from what we see, the assignment stated to focus more on the main girl which was towards the end of the video so I don"t feel that your statement about humiliation wherein you cited as (3:05) can truly be used to justify the actions of the husband because in those cases the men were most likely complete strangers to the woman.
Further, where you responded to my prior question how is consenting to the marriage necessarily wanting to get married supposed to be considered Rape? Well I would have to disagree with your answer because does spending the night necessarily mean she was forced to have sex? There was no mentioned of the Husband forcing himself onto his wife. It simply discusses the fact that it is tradition to have sex on the first night because it is a way to test if the wife is pure through her blood on the sheets.
While I agree with you on the woman not fighting back and showing resistance but again after all that she consented and seemed to be happy about her choice. That is the key thing here ultimately the marriage will take place once the woman agrees, once she allows them to place the white cloth over her head (23:09).
Although she does mention that she wanted to finish school she still seemed to have hope that one day she would be able to finish school just she would be a married woman. Maybe the video is not enough information to justice Rape or non-traditional rape but it is enough to justify the actions of the groom. His actions do not fall under the definition of Rape or non-traditional rape. It is simply two people that have been dating, who had discussed getting married in the future and the man taking the initiative of making the first move and making the marriage happen. His goal is to make her happy and make her see that in their culture this was the way to make the her happy and give her the life she truly deserves. In any event his act was completely out of true love, for the love he felt for this woman who he had been dating and the desire to spend the rest of his life with her as part of her family.
Another point that needs to be clarified is the meaning of consent. I do agree with what you said; "consent is giving permission to another and in a way understanding that giving that consent might have consequences," but according to Smith, in some cases, "her behavior is not always an accurate guide to her true desires, it might suggest resistance when in fact the woman is enjoying the physical struggle (178.4.4)," and it can also work the other way. In reality, the true meaning of consent is very complicated to understand because we don"t really know the real motives behind people"s behaviors. It is true that we don"t know if the wife was forced to have sex or not because it was not shown in the video but we do know she was forced to get married and that leads her to be forced to have sex as well. Once she agreed on the marriage then she had to automatically agree on having intimate relationships with her now husband because it is simply part of her culture. Remember, once she is in, she has to forever stay. Crazy, isn"t it? We will never know her true feelings about the whole situation, because as you said, she might seemed happy and excited to get married but we don"t really know what"s going on. There is a part where she was been interviewed before the ceremony where she shows part of her emotions. Referring to the act of kidnapping she said; "no, I don"t think it"s good but what can we do?" By her saying this we can have an idea that she wasn"t really agreeing with the whole situation but she had no other choice but to resign and continue with the ceremony.
I also think we shouldn"t be using people emotions or what seemed to be their emotions as a justifiable reason to agree or not with rape or nontraditional rape. You said; "While I agree with you on the woman not fighting back and showing resistance but again after all that she consented and seemed to be happy about her choice." Even though you used the world "seemed" we can"t really tell if that was what she was really feeling or not. That"s why I believe emotions"in this case"can be used to make a decision. The video was too short for us to truly understand and go deep in her thoughts and feelings about the situation.
I have to disagree with what you mentioned; "It is simply two people that have been dating, who had discussed getting married in the future and the man taking the initiative of making the first move and making the marriage happen." There is a contradiction between what you"re saying. If they already agreed on getting married in the future, why would he have to take such a drastic decision as kidnapping her in order for the marriage to happen? Isn"t that going against what was already planned and discussed between them? And also, how can a man make a girl happy after kidnapping her? Her ideas about the guy will never be the same, even if it"s part of a tradition.
I also disagree with your last comment; "In any event his act was completely out of true love, for the love he felt for this woman who he had been dating and the desire to spend the rest of his life with her as part of her family." We don"t know if what he feels is love or simply obsession. If he really "loved" her, he would have waited on their agreement of taking some time and wait for the wedding to happen at the right time, without any use of force.
A recap of what I mentioned in my prior sessions of this debate, the actions taken by the husband were not Rape or non-traditional rape. From this video all we learn are the traditions and the rules that this particular country has. See I think the problem with your argument is that you keep referring back to society and the world in general when in fact we should be focusing on the videos culture and the videos beliefs. Who is to determine that the actions that have been taken places for hundreds of years are suddenly wrong because we in the United States believe that to be the case? See that can be the problem, as residents of the United States we tend to pick up a few things from others and that is that everyone is free and entitled to be treated equally. In reality who are we to determine the way others should live, the way other countries should protect their people. If they have obviously not done anything significant enough to stop the kidnapping and "rapes" as you claim, it must be that this is something that is accepted in their country, something that they can simply justify.
The family of the bride, especially the mother not only accepts that her daughter will be getting married but she also says "I also feel happy" (22:28). See it is simply a tradition that all the people that were in this video went through themselves. It is simply a new step into the life you are meant to be. The girl would sooner or later be kidnapped and married, at least in this video we realize that they had been dating for a while. After the ceremony where the bride was asked if she decided to accept the marriage on her own without being forced, she replied "yes I did" (26:90). She then states that she did although she would have liked to have waited and wanted to get married in a different way. (27:00).
When I stated "rape and non traditional rape refer to a man"s aggressiveness and the force used in the act," what mentioning some of the things Smith stated in (161.1) where he explain what non-traditional rape is. Although I agree with his definition, I cannot say that I can apply it to the video because the actions taken by the husband do not necessarily fit into this definition. For one, the husband did not help apply force or use aggression towards his bride. That was done by members of his family and others. He simply acted straight from the heart and went to propose marriage to the woman he loves in the way his country has been doing it since the ancient times.
Accordingly, I truly do believe that the actions taken by the husband were truly his way of proposing to the woman he loves; to the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. The only difference is that we may not necessarily accept the way in which he proposed but that is the way it is done there. Another factor is we must not forget that the bride readily accepted the marriage and at no given time did she state she was raped or forced to do something she did not want to do. Even while the ceremony was taking place, we were asked a number of times if this was something she was accepting freely and she responded yes. She consented to becoming his wife. She accepted to stay the first night. The ball was how we say in her ballpark, and she decided she would accept the terms and begin her new life with a man she has feelings for. Her consent seemed sincere and it seemed as if she understood exactly everything that was going on and exactly what she was consenting to. It cannot be considered Rape or non-traditional rape.
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