Sunday, January 26, 2014
Growing trend in kidnapping child brides
The charity Compassion has highlighted the growing trend in child brides. They are working to tackle what they call marriage abduction, or bride kidnapping, through partnerships with the local church across the globe. It has been reported that girls as young as 13 are captured against their will and forced to marry. This is a common occurrence in some parts of the world, in which they are often subjected to rape with the aim of forcing pregnancy and thus legitimising the union in the eyes of the local community. Although forced marriages are frequently reported in the press, “bride kidnapping” is less well known despite many communities across the globe seeing it as a traditional custom. In parts of Thailand, particularly among the Hmong community, the practice is common and sometimes even endorsed by parents. "According to Hmong culture, women are not naturally treated with respect or honour. There is a belief that daughters are just temporary residents, and that they will eventually have to leave their parents to be with their husbands," explains Pastor Wittaya of Ban Nam Sum church, which has been working with Compassion to combat the systematic abuse. "If they cannot stay in the marriage with their husbands, they are prohibited to return to their parents' homes because there is no place for them." Compassion is committed to changing the cultural attitudes that make such horrific abuse permissible, working in partnership with local churches and organisations to protect and care for vulnerable girls. One such example is the Kao Kor Grace Child Development Centre, which works among one of the largest communities of Hmong people in Thailand. It now has over 500 children registered in its safeguarding programme, and has reported huge successes. At least half of their registered children have been protected from abduction, and around 250 have graduated high school. Thirty have gone to university and 15 have thus far graduated with a bachelor's degree. These statistics indicate an incredible level of care given that teens in the Hmong community usually leave school after ninth grade. "We may not be able to change the whole culture immediately, but we can start with the mindset of our children," explains project director Mrs Wasana. "They're learning about their rights in society, what the Bible says about their identity and their freedom to choose their life partners without being subject to the Hmong's traditional practice." Mrs Wasana and her team have built up a network of connections that give them immediate access to authorities if a case of kidnapping is reported.
Posted by Amanda Hopkins
Extract from http://www.christiantoday.com