An Instagrammer from Kyrgyzstan tries to raise awareness of forced child marriages in her culture.
Saykal Jumalieva, a twenty-one-year-old citizen of Kyrgyzstan, made a YouTube video. It illustrates the atrocity of girls being taken against their consent for marriage. The video depicts Jumalieva dancing in traditional wife clothing. Slaving away with never ending chores each wife is expected to fulfill. As she dances to the Bee Gees Stayin Alive, viewers don’t understand the extent of the crime the is conveying.
Though, it isn’t fully understood.
Kyrgyzstan is a country in Central Asia. Its mountainous terrain makes it difficult to sow. However, it has flourished since its early history and currently has a place in the United Nations.
The sad news is young girls do not want to marry. They want the right to choose how to live their own lives. Why must a girl give up her studies? Inspiration to learn more and find a career to contribute to a good economy encouraged. Instead, as is the custom many older men approach families to arrange a marriage. If the parents don’t agree, often a kidnapping or rape will force the girl to marry.
Because of this, suicide in Kyrgyzstan is at an all time high.
Since January 2017 forty-nine children have committed suicide. The suicide hotline assisted and saw over four hundred cases of potential suicide victims.
There are too many children who feel hopeless and unable to change their lives. Although, many cases include bride kidnapping and use of sexual violence. This is the accepted practice. Additionally, any woman near or older than Saykal Jumalieva’s age is told they are too old and worthless. They have nothing to do in life.
The latest state study survey in Kyrgyzstan revealed some statistics about underage matrimony. Fourteen percent of all women currently between the age of twenty-five and forty-nine, report being taken before the age of eighteen.
Presently, a new draft law is in progress to preclude underage matrimony of every type.
The United Nations Development Programme takes responsibility for the changes towards human rights in the Kyrgyz Republic.
The UNDP is organizing seminars, training municipal staff members and the Ministry of Education. They want to open discussions to push the process of advocating against child marriage further. The UNDP went so far as to create a short film depicting the process of this institution.
The film won international attention. It also won a silver medal award at a Kyrgyz annual festival. The message is coupling with a minor is a criminal offense. Also, wedlock is a choice for an adult to make. “Your daughter needs your support.”
The sentence for this crime is three to five years in prison. The law includes clergy, parents or anyone else who participates in the criminal ceremony.
The fight for human rights will hopefully reduce violence as well as the maternal mortality rate.
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