In their practice, the abductor kidnaps the woman forcibly and rapes her in an attempt to impregnate her.The "bride" is then coerced through the stigma of pregnancy and rape to marry her abductor.According to some sources, the honeymoon is a relic of marriage by capture, based on the practice of the husband going into hiding with his wife to avoid reprisals from her relatives, with the intention that the woman would be pregnant by the end of the month.Though the motivations behind bride kidnapping vary by region, the cultures with traditions of marriage by abduction are generally patriarchal with a strong social stigma on sex or pregnancy outside marriage and illegitimate births.In agricultural and patriarchal societies, where bride kidnapping is most common, children work for their family.A woman leaves her birth family, geographically and economically, when she marries, becoming instead a member of the groom's family.But we're forced to let them all go several days later," says an official at the criminal investigation department in Nyagatare, the capital of Umutara." Bride kidnapping is prevalent in many regions of Ethiopia.According to surveys conducted in 2003 by the National Committee on Traditional Practices in Ethiopia, the custom's prevalence rate was estimated at 69 percent nationally, and highest in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's Region at 92 percent.
Forced marriages continue to be a problem for young girls in Kenya.
This article surveys the phenomenon by region, drawing on common cultural factors for patterns, but noting country-level distinctions.
In three African countries, bride kidnapping often takes the form of abduction followed by rape. or is forced to when the kidnapper impregnates her, as pregnant women are not seen as eligible for marriage.
Bride kidnapping is not specifically outlawed in Rwanda, though violent abductions are punishable as rape.
According to a criminal justice official, bride kidnappers are virtually never tried in court: "When we hear about abduction, we hunt down the kidnappers and arrest them and sometimes the husband, too.