Bride kidnapping

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Bride kidnapping, also known as marriage by abduction or marriage by capture, is a practice throughout history and around the world in which a man abducts the woman he wishes to marry. Bride kidnapping still occurs in countries spanning Central Asia, the Caucasus region, and parts of Africa, and among peoples as diverse as the Hmong in southeast Asia, the Tzeltal in Mexico, and the Romani in Europe. In most countries, bride kidnapping is considered a sex crime, rather than a valid form of marriage. Some versions of it may also be seen as falling along the continuum between forced marriage and arranged marriage. The term is sometimes used to include not only abductions, but also elopements, in which a couple runs away together and seeks the consent of their parents later; these may be referred to as non-consensual and consensual abductions respectively. However, even when the practice is against the law, judicial enforcement remains lax, particularly in Kyrgyzstan and Chechnya.

Bride kidnapping is distinguished from raptio in that the former refers to the abduction of one woman by one man (and his friends and relatives), and is still a widespread practice, whereas the latter refers to the large scale abduction of women by groups of men, possibly in a time of war (see also war rape).

Some modern cultures maintain a symbolic kidnapping of the bride by the groom as part of the ritual and traditions surrounding a wedding, in a nod to the practice of bride kidnapping which may...
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